July 30, 2008

Paterson, Time To Walk The Walk

Governor David Paterson has drawn the line in the sand. He has called on his colleagues in Albany to return with the intent of addressing the state's massive budget gap, and he has sent a message to state's the public sector employees, warning of budget cuts and layoffs. Good for you, Dave, it sure makes for great sound bites.

But we have to wonder if there is any substance to what Paterson is saying. Fred Dicker of the Daily News, a frequent critic of Albany, is also questioning Paterson's lack of details to address the state's fiscal woes. From the DN...

Gov. Paterson last night candidly laid out the harsh realities of New York's deteriorating financial condition - but he was largely silent when it came to proposing the solutions needed to address them. Sure, the governor talked about the fire-sale leasing of such core state assets as roads, bridges and tunnels - just the sort of thing near-bankrupt Third World nations used to do under pressure from the colonial powers.

And of course he said he'll consider reducing the size of the state work force, and demanding further cuts in state-agency spending.

But Paterson never mentioned the unrelenting special-interest grips the teachers and hospital-workers unions have on state government, which have driven up health-care and school-aid costs to unsustainable levels. He never said that the high cost of taxation, energy and labor for businesses are the reasons so many new and expanding companies don't want to locate here, and why the state became overly dependent on Wall Street revenues. And, most importantly, Paterson failed to point out that New York's notoriously spendthrift Legislature must be brought to heel if fiscal sanity is to return to the state.

Paterson's repeated promise to speak truth to power has ignored the fact that, as governor, he is the power - and not merely the interested observer his speech last night suggested. So give our accidental governor a midterm "A" for telling New Yorkers what the legislative leaders don't want us to know: that revenues to the state treasury are plunging at a dangerous rate and something drastic must be done soon.

But be prepared to give Paterson a well-deserved "F" if he fails to follow up with a specific agenda of cuts and savings when he brings lawmakers back to Albany on Aug. 19.


Anonymous said...

That would be great hobbes, then you both will have received the big F. yes the legislature also hires too many useless people.

Anonymous said...

most people around here love big taxes and big government programs. If the political climate was anything different, we’d have different government.

Anonymous said...

That statement / premise is really not fair. “Most people” don’t have a clue what is happening in NYS Govt. “Most people” don’t see the big picture and don’t have any idea where to start to make any kind of changes in goverment. “Most people” don’t pay any attention to politics; and it’s possible that “most people” don’t even vote in local and State races. To stay accuratly informed about state and local goverment, state and local politicians and all the programs and practices of our goverment(s) is nearly impossible for “most people” (anyone who has a job, a family or a so-called “life”).
While there is some truth to the notion of people “..getting the goverment they deserve”. It is not reasonable to expect “most people” to closely follow, or even understand the boring-BS-soap-opera of NYS Govt or the goings-on of their local municipal representatives. There is only so much time in a day. “Most people” are busting their ass just to turn a buck.
I don’t believe I’m getting the “goverment I deserve”, but that’ll have to wait while I grunt and grub and hump for a paycheck. In that regard, I’m very much like “most people”.
(BTW, The grunting and humping parts are o.k., but the grubbing is the hardest part of my job.)

Anonymous said...

Last anonymous:

Let's focus, moron. What items really drive our taxes? Medicaid, social programs and school taxes, which are comprised primarily of labor costs (teachers' compensation).

Changes to Medicaid benefits would anger healthcare workers and the SEIU. I won't hold my breath on seeing Paterson take on the SEIU.

Changes to the way we compensate out teachers would involve taking on the teachers' union. Again, I won't hold my breath.

I was pleased to see our Governor address the budget deficit, but he now owns it and people are expecting real change.

Anonymous said...

Sorry last anon, I meant to say first anon.

Anonymous said...

The Gov is full of crap - he talks about holding the line on spending but his actions are somewhat different.

Case and point, just look at the gobs of cash the school districts received from him earlier this year.

Since he a one term guy; I'm predicting that he will just raise taxes. The GOP will buy in because their will be an expiration date attached to the law.


rufus said...

You can't lay off governmet workers. I'm pretty sure they are all guaranteed lifetime employment, lifetime healthcare and no job responsibility the minute the sign up. No, only those poor slobs in the private sector feel the crunch...plus, I can see the commericals now. If you lay off even one CSEA member, grandma will die, your food will be poisoned, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.

Anonymous said...

I think the Governor is employing the “Red book, Blue book” fiscal strategy.

I believe we all need to lobby the Federal Government – the State of New York is in need of a Hard Control Board.

Anonymous said...

Throw the bums out

pirate's code said...

Is Paterson's recent rhetoric a glimmer of hope, or is it just that...rhetoric?

The fact that he said anything about this situation and is calling the legislature back into session is a plus. Maybe, just maybe, because he didn't have to make any promises to anyone to get elected governor means he is less beholding to the special interests that so often dominate a gubernatorial campaign. And, maybe, he doesn't want to be governor when the excelsior state circles the bowl for the last time before disappearing down the drain completely.

I tend to doubt all that, but what the hell...let's hope he's doing the right thing and is successful. His success would be our success.

If he's not...well, there will be plenty of time to piss on the grave.

By the way, the old saying about editorialists is that all they do is come down from the hill after a battle and shoot the wounded. Fred Dicker at the Daily News likes to "shoot the wounded" before the battle has even begun. He's fun to read, but clearly has an agenda.

This will be interesting. We have a relatively new governor who, much to my surprise, seems to speak his mind. We have a Senate Majority leader who...um, who isn't Joe Bruno. So, the senior member of the "three men in a room govt." we have is Shelly Silver. Any bets on who refuses to budge on spending cuts and state worker cutbacks?

Anonymous said...

Between now and the day the gavel drops you will begin to hear radio ads sponsored by SEIU, NYSUT, CSEA, the Communication Workers of America (don’t they still represent some nurses locally?). These ads will be professionally voiced, over ominous music, and will tell you to contact your Senator or Assemblyperson and tell him/her that you oppose Gov. Patak … er, Patterson’s “budget cuts” (a.k.a. decreases in the rate of increase), and that if Patterson has his way, your child, spouse or life partner will die in an emergency room, and your children will have no place to go to school and will have to become crack dealers or hookers for Emperors Club VIP.
Then–because the teachers have the summer off–the charter buses will begin to convoy in full diesel determination down the Thruway and line up on Washington Ave. in front of the NYS Education Department Parthenon, and the bullhorns will echo from the steps of the Capitol, “What do we want?! … When do we want it?!”
The grifter legislators will then issue statements about their duty to listen to their “constituents” (i.e. the Unions who stuff their pockets), and why they’re compelled by their conscience to vote against the “cuts”, for the good of all New Yorkers.
Gov. Paterson, thus chastened, will fall silent, in the fervent hope that his own cash-flow and endorsements from these thugs don’t choke off.
You know the drill; you can recite it in your sleep–just before you wake suddenly with acid reflux in your throat.

Anonymous said...

Why would any incumbent cut anything three months before an election? I know that incumbency in the State Senate results in 99% re-election rate and it is near the same in the Assembly, but why would they take the risk? I know it might be the “right” thing to do, but when has anyone in Albany done the right thing?

Perhaps we need to propose and support some cuts to our local delegation? We could do some grandstand stunt or make a big splash, we’re usually pretty good at that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is an opportunity to cut entire levels of government in the Western New York region. Reactions may include a bit of ‘well, Albany, you’ve been fucking us for years, and we’ve obviously enjoyed it, so we’re gonna do something nice to help you get out of the mess you have created.’

We’ll eliminate entire layers of government. That’s right, folks. We could lobby our local representatives to support the elimination of entire layers of government right here in Western New York. Could this be the time for such a bold restructuring of misguided and duplicative Government services?

Anonymous said...

We all know what’s coming. The state will cut aid to public schools and then all the school districts will raise our property taxes to make up the difference, and then some. The state may even come up with some kind of a compromise (i.e. cut the school aid and raise our state taxes).

Aside from the stock market losses, the bulk of the state shortfall came from reduced sales tax revenue. Wow, what happened to the windfall that was supposed to come from collecting taxes on internet commerce?

In the end, Paterson told us all to get ready to be reamed at both ends. State cuts and tax hikes, and local tax hikes. We’ll see what Paterson is made of soon. He is the only person in a position to hold the line on taxes for us at the state level and cap property tax increases locally. If he’s successful, we’ll only have to figure out how to keep the local government wolves at bay

Anonymous said...

NYSUT, SEIU and other groups are powerful because they worked to become powerful. They didn’t whine on a blog about how their opponents were too strong. They did something about it.

Nothing is stopping you from organizing a group to buy radio ads, send busloads of lobbyists to Albany, and all of the other nefarious bits of citizen engagement you blame on the “special interests.” If you’re too weak to counter the arguments of your opponents, that’s your fault — not theirs.

Anonymous said...

We have too many layers of government in New York, but the premise that cutting a few council people in West Seneca and few council people in Hamburg will help balance any budgets is a HOAX perpetrated by Kevin Gaughn. Erie County spent over $200 MILLION dollars last year on Medicaid. Buffalo paid 100 cops over $100,000 last year. But I am sure that once West Seneca downsizes to 3 council persons, everything will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Last ano is right, how dare they ask us to kick people off the public feed bag. We like getting all our kids jobs and charging our house remodeling on the public ticket. Just ask Rob Quack the town of niagara just about every town employees kid has a job this summer watching grass grow. Yes, F is in order.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Whether through ignorance or active voting for the status quo the citizens of this region have given a stamp of approval to big government. Using the argument that people don’t have time to avail themselves of the proper information on which to base a vote only empowers intransigence on the part of our political class.

If turnout were to be higher than 20-30% in local elections, would we see a significant change in incumbency rates? Would people vote for change? It’s an interesting question, but sadly one that we have little evidence to debate.

Which leads me to believing that term limits (something to which I am generally opposed) are necessary in New York State. As well as publicly funded elections

Anonymous said...

What a great idea - lets start another group like CSEA??? Give me a F*&^ break.

The unions, with their sweet heart contracts are the problem.

Soon enough you guys will be in the same situation as Delphi.

Their workers screwed the company with their crazy benefits such as “bench pay” and then the market forces caused everything to collapse.

The same thing will happen with the State of New York; because no one can or is willing take responsible corrective action.

Anonymous said...

It's not the union’s fault they are just looking out for their people. "We the people" need protection from the corporate machine.

Besides I think Dennis V has a great rug and I'm happy to help a bald guy out. And what wrong with the government employees receiving a “Plastic Surgery” benefits? A happy home life makes for a productive employee; numerous work / life balance studies conducted by NY State have highlighted these benefits.

At least our union familys are productive members of society – they are the backbone of our community.

It’s the welfare element that we need to purge from our community – just look at Niagara Falls; about half the population is on well fare.

It’s time for some tough love!!

I’m sure if we cut back on some of their fringe benefits that this “life style” would be less attractive to most of them people.

What wrong with a "little" suffering Amongst the poor – an empty belly can be good motivational catalyst. My Grandmother work her way through the "Great Depression"; and she a better person becasue of it. These people have it too soft.

Anonymous said...

At least our union familys are productive members of society – they are the backbone of our community. Are you kidding me? There are 3 teachers arrested every year, rape, drunking driving, and rape. Mayors taking payoffs, IDA's having paying to keep their girl friends employed. Yup Outstanding!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

the impact of the casino in niagara falls remains to be seen. the city’s taking in an extra $23 mill or so a year, which so far has been used in the most irresponsible manner imaginable. i haven’t heard one businessperson in the immediate casino neighborhood — where i’ve lived for 10 years — compain about the casino per se, but they complain plenty about the taxes they have to pay, the city codes that seem designed to retard private development and the smoking ban, spporved by virtually everyone in albany.

3,000 people are working there though, making the casino the largest employer in niagara falls, and a significant number of those are from the city and county. the income they earn allows them to purchase automobiles, gas, appliances and make their house payments. and that number does not count thehundreds and hundres of skilled building trade workers who will continue to see employment for the forseeable future as the senecas expand their operation.

before rocco says anything, the niagara falls reporter has never gotten one thin dime from the seneca niagara gaming corp., in advertising or anything else.

to hear some people around here tell it, the paper’s on the take worse than city hall.

Anonymous said...

I think the county also hired a six-pack or so of Conflict Attorneys. I’ll bet they couldn’t even negotiate an argument with their wife and kids. Seriously, though, there is always a rationale for this kind of bureaucracy building. But do we have any way of reasonably combating such a cancerous proliferation of "remediators" given we live in a world where it's presumed that ordinary people of the communities cannot and should not deal with their own problems independently of the official mechanisms of the professional world such as the courts?

And recently Lockport decided it just might need a Main Street Manager. When you’re done laughing, please finish reading this. If you were listening to the announcement on the Scott Leffler show the other day and were listening closely, you may have noticed that it was not quite clear whether the new manager would be a “manager,” a “promoter” or an “economic development specialist.” My guess is they don’t have to get clear about the job description, because he probably won’t know what he’s doing anyhow. Besides it’s doubtful there will be any objective prior measure of the state of Main Street before he starts such that when they finally do get rid of him/her, or give him/her tenure, they will know whether there’s any real difference in having hired him/her/it in the first place. But the point is when you can get a “grant” (read bureaucratically rationalized tax-money giveaway) why not perform acts of desperation. Let the taxpayers fund the business ventures. If they fail, they’ll just raise taxes again. Bureaucracy rules!