December 29, 2008

Paterson Plays Chicken

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates that 46% of New Yorkers disapprove of the way that Governor David Paterson is handling the state budget so far. What's shocking is that 40% of us gave him positive marks on his budget work.

Paterson's budget is full of nothing but additional taxes and fees. There are no attempts to reign in the reckless spending that has plagued this state for decades. There is no indication of a willingness on the part of Paterson to reform the most expensive Medicaid program in the country.

While we have discussed the possibility of a tax on foods that make us fat, in essence doing so because of the costs associated with treating obesity and obesity-related illnesses, we never thought an "obesity tax" would become a reality. If Paterson has his way, it will.

So will increased fees. Eighty-eight of them in Paterson's budget proposal, including movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages. It also extends sales taxes to cable and satellite TV services and removes the tax exemption for clothes costing less than $110. All while proposing a $698 million reduction in school aid and $3.5 billion in health care reductions.

So what the hell is that 40% thinking when they support his budget proposal?

The Quinnipiac poll also indicates that an overwhelming majority would opt instead to boost state income taxes for households making $1 million or more per year, with 84 percent in favor of that proposal and just 13 percent opposed. That isn't in Paterson's budget.

It appears that Paterson is playing some type of "chicken" with the Senate and the Assembly. There is no possible way that any version of his current budget proposal will incorporated into the final product. The problem is that we, the public, are the ones who will be forced to blink. Paterson, when all is said and done, will continue to promote the status quo; just as he's done for his 20+ years in the Senate.

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