February 14, 2011
From Carl P. Paladino
“TURN ALBANY UPSIDE DOWN”
(Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget is Unacceptable)
We don’t want to believe that the policies articulated in the executive budget by “new born conservative” Andrew Cuomo are essentially the same old liberal elitist smoke and mirror game of the Albany insider establishment but, unfortunately, that is the case. It’s all rhetoric.
Cuomo’s target is only to resolve the deficit, which will result in the status quo, which means we are still the highest spending and taxing state per capita and the least attractive state for job retention and growth in America. The people want a cost productive, efficient, apolitical government serving only them. Contracting with his father as a consultant is symbolic of how he and the elitist ruling class are addicted to feeding at the public trough.
Texas has no state income tax. Property taxes and utility costs are a fraction of those here. They don’t regulate their businesses to death. Texas created 500,000 new jobs over the past five years. New York lost 280,000 last year. New Yorkers won’t be appeased with a half loaf. They demand and will get a better place to live and work.
Cuomo talks the talk emphasizing key words, which are interpreted by a shallow, uninformed and disinterested press eat it hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately, the “accepting” press won’t challenge the status quo and fails to connect the dots for the people.
We teach our children to preserve the family fabric; honor and care for their parents and grandparents who will teach their grandchildren lessons a parent can’t teach. We suffer their ups and downs in life and sadly after graduation we must tell them to go elsewhere for a job to fulfill their dreams. Meanwhile, Uncle John has one of those no show political patronage jobs. People can't connect the dots.
Special interests control our government. The political class feeds off that reality. All people are special but some are more special than others.
The executive budget is shallow and fails to address issues critical to putting New York on a path competitive for job retention and growth. It doesn’t call for cutting any taxes. It then should at least call for tort reform, workers compensation and malpractice reform, which will save taxpayers and businesses billions in premiums. New Yorkers didn't vote for the most liberal social welfare system in the world. Cuomo calls for less than $1 billion in Medicaid cuts because he knows that 99 percent of those on entitlements will register and vote as Democrats.
The progressive political culture revolves around access, political jobs and favors without regard for values, vision and competent leadership. They act entitled because we sadly have let them act that way.
Resolving the deficit does not address salient change of status quo issues into the budget process where the Governor uniquely has the final say under our executive strong Constitution. He can shut the government down April 1, 2011. Saying Cuomo’s budget is the beginning or a step in the right direction is the same old “change comes slowly” establishment rhetoric, unacceptable in a State falling into the abyss at a staggering pace.
Cuomo’s staff of “experienced” Albany insiders are pros at gaming the system. They wrote the book. The press admired Cuomo’s vague budget summaries with big numbers and big words. There is no line-by-line budget, no plan for transparency, no defined effort to fire a political patronage class holding jobs that have no real function, no plan to actually allow the people to look in the window of the real decision making meetings and no rejection of three men in a room and restoration of a Constitutional government.
Cuomo fails miserably. It is what is not said in his budget that is glaring. But, didn’t he say he was for “change?" He pledged not to take campaign contributions in excess of $10,000. He then changed his mind. He said, “If you commit a crime you will go to jail.” He didn’t mean it. He didn’t send to jail Andrew Farkas, Steve Rattner, Pat Lynch, Charles Rangel or, if the judge follows Cuomo's recommendation, Alan Hevesi, who held the most trusted office in the state and took over $1 million in bribes.
We must stop the flight from New York of our middle class and educated youth now, not on a 20-year plan. The people want their government grounded, honest and strong. They want hope.
1) To eliminate "with as few layoffs of State workers as possible" (including attrition) a maximum 11,000 jobs. The Paterson administration ordered a “hard” hiring freeze in State government on June 30, 2008 declaring that only “absolutely essential” positions be filled but nevertheless hired 51,464 people, many in high paying jobs, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 billion,
2) A 2% cap to slow the rate of increase in local government spending, [rather than cut spending and taxes] which, after Sheldon Silver finishes the Albany two step will have loopholes that you can sail an aircraft carrier through. Cuomo will tell us how necessary it was to compromise, kicking the reform can further down the road,
3) To have 733 local school districts find $2.85 Billion (the State education funding savings is actually $1.54 Billion) instead of assisting the School Districts by:
a] Consolidating operations and administration or in some cases entire districts,
b] Freezing compensation, forcing pension reform and rescinding the Taylor law for teachers,
c] Cutting the out of control and bloated State Education Dept. where faceless progressive minded bureaucrats arbitrarily impose ill conceived and irresponsible unfunded mandates, against the will of the people,
4) To freeze the pay of state workers but neglects to:
a] Freeze all-hiring,
b] Freeze State contributions to health and other benefits of State workers,
c] Freeze the pay and benefits of workers in Authorities, local government and school districts,
5) Nothing to even address specific goals in reform of State pensions,
6) Nothing to change the pensions of exempt public employees including political appointees of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These employees number approximately 25 percent of all State Agency, Authority and local government employees whose pensions are not protected by Constitutional language. A change from the present defined benefit to a defined contribution plan as proposed by Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick would be critical to any effort to cajole the unions to follow suit in contract negotiations for State contracts that expire in April, 2011,
7) Nothing to recognize that binding arbitration under the Taylor Law expires in April 2011 and the question of extension will be an effective tool in:
a] Convincing Union leaders to waive their Constitutional right to the defined benefit pension plan that soon will bankrupt New York,
b] Compelling arbitration by the judiciary rather than the ultra liberal Cornell educated PERB arbitrators who have a history of throwing the taxpayers under the bus,
c] Rescinding the taxpayer busting Triborough Amendment "continuation of terms" requirement,
8) Nothing about amending the Taylor Law to cover only State and local first responders, correction officers and other such critical personnel (who cares if other non-critical government agency and authority workers chose to strike),
9) To lower Medicaid spending [$53 billion last year] by only $2.5 billion [which year over year is actually less than $1 billion] still maintaining the most expensive such program in the world by a margin 100 percent higher per capita than the next highest State and rejecting the will of the people who don’t want to:
a] Be the keeper of all the poor and disenfranchised of the world,
b] Pay the cost of medical procedures for non-residents
c] Pay for the waste, fraud and abuse, which accounts for $5 to $10 billion per year that Cuomo decided was insignificant and not deserving of more resources of the Attorney General’s office,
d] Allow delegation of legislative authority to bureaucrats who legislate by promulgating liberal progressive regulations that allows applicants to apply by phone without reasonable identification and without a means test of assets looking only to income,
e] Pay the cost of unnecessary ultra liberal optional benefits,
10) Nothing to abolish the $1 billion patronage ridden and corrupted Division of Housing and Community Renewal,
11) Nothing to merge the few effective activities of political agencies like the Adirondack Park Agency with the State Parks Department, the Corrections Commission with the Corrections Department or bring the wasteful and corrupt MTA back under State government control for a cleansing and restructuring, etc.,
12) Nothing to repeal the socialistic Wick's Law which punishes the taxpayer with additional costs of 25 to 50 percent to pay back the Trade Unions for their political financial support by requiring prevailing wages on all government contracts denying non-union contractors and tradesmen (80 percent of the trade workforce) the opportunity to compete in a market economy,
13) $100 Million to ease the transition for communities that will suffer the closure of prisons but doesn't speak to:
a] The sale of prisons to private prison operators as a new industry when prisons nationally are overcrowded,
b] A cleansing and restructuring of Corrections supervisory, administrative and professional personnel and waste in vehicles, housing, purchasing, payroll, health care services, etc.,
14) Nothing to pursue the reduction or elimination of business taxes on manufacturing, creative and high tech industries including the New York State Corporation franchise tax, and the New York State minimum tax on small businesses struggling to stay alive, which would equitably and fairly encourage an atmosphere conducive to job retention and growth by not spending over a billion dollars on:
a] Green subsidies supported by a small minority of irresponsible taxpayers,
b] Political patronage "development" personnel,
c] Empire and other such zones, Brownfield subsidies, NYSERTA subsidies and other such general and selective subsidies,
15) Nothing to eliminate the policy of rehiring retired employees on consulting contracts denying other State residents a job and costing the taxpayer for those who double dip,
16.) Nothing about merging the political N.Y. State Thruway Authority with DOT and the highly political, corrupt and twisted N.Y. Power Authority into the Economic Development Dept. which would save millions in political patronage, waste and redundant supervision and administration,
17] Nothing to revise SUNY non-resident student tuition rates which are subsidized by the taxpayers over 50% the first year and even more after that when they are treated as residents,
18] Nothing to implement Lundine Report recommendations for consolidating local services and governments,
19] To create 10 regional panels to “compete” for $200 million in development subsidy money creating more patronage jobs to staff offices with incompetent political parasites. What happens in those areas that lose the politicized competition to a political friendly? Do they miss out on economic development? The only fair and equitable way to stimulate the economy is to cut taxes uniformly. Not one tax is cut in Cuomo’s budget.
The above identifies a few of the many issues crucial to job creation and fiscal stability.. We can’t delay turning the status quo upside down. The self-serving wheeling and dealing of the past must end. There comes a time when enough is enough.
Increased taxes and fees were $5.5 billion in 2010 and $10.3 billion in 2009. Spending in 2009 was $8,076 per capita, 41% higher than the National average. The year over year deficit, by Cuomo’s own admission, is a small percentage of the published $10 billion.
Change will be difficult for the political ruling class, which continues to defy the Constitutional principle that public servants are elected to serve only the nineteen million citizens of New York. Gluttony is a tough habit to break. The deterioration of the state’s economy, the impaired quality of life of its citizens, 9.5% unemployment and the highest spending and taxes per capita of any state is not an accident or bad luck. Our younger generation feels it can’t control its destiny and is relegated to accept the status quo in life.
Only cutting spending, taxes and regulation and comprehensively, deliberately and with a vengeance turning Albany upside down will send a real message of change to our people and businesses.
We can’t bear four more years of the status quo.