If you want to known how life functions in New York State, just follow the money. For the common man, it’s
business as usual. The Big Apple has worms and Upstate folks are supposed to grow another crop of insect free fruit. Another
broken record best chronicled in the style of the New York Daily News: "It is painful, but it's the right thing to do," Mayor Bloomberg said in Albany, flanked by state
Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).
Yes, it is painful to watch the pantomime that passes for legislation and sound government.
A $93 billion state budget was given final approval by the Legislature on Friday over the objections of Gov. George E. Pataki, after a
tumultuous week that has left the Republican Party in tatters from a battle that party insiders say is worsening. Of course
the record deficit is a result of the drain from the Baghdad on the Hudson. Reported in the New York Times: “Taken together, the state budget and the city aid package would cause the sales tax to rise one-quarter
of a percentage point outside New York City and three-eighths of a point inside the city. Statewide, income taxes would rise
to 7.5 percent, from 6.85 percent, on taxable earnings above $100,000 for single people or above $150,000 for married couples.
City residents would pay a small added surcharge above that, yet to be decided. There would be no tax on commuters, even though
the mayor had sought one.”
Left out by, the paper of record, are those nasty little details. No wonder the man on the street turns to
the tabloid newsprint for the real scoop:
Have the state take over the city's debt from the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, which would save the city $500
million a year for each of the next four years.
Funnel $275 million to the city to pay for raises given to teachers in the second year of their contract.
Generate $65 million a year for the city for the next three years by authorizing the sale of 900 new taxi
Impose a surcharge on absentee landlords that would bring in $44 million a year.
Raise the city's $1.50-per-pack tax on cigarettes by 13 cents, yielding $11 million a year.
Governor Pataki has vowed to either veto the entire budget or use the line-item veto to strike what he considers objectionable
spending. Pataki is hoping public opinion will force lawmakers to reconsider, a tactic legislators insist is backfiring. They
say they've been hearing only from grateful constituents who support the extra funding for schools and health care programs.
Now that’s the account that you are supposed to believe.
Having been on the staff of a New York Senator over thirty years ago, this process has changed little. Only
the public restraint of the current governor is a novelty. A stark contrast from the conduct of his predator predecessor,
Mario Cumo. Those in the know understand that NYS budgets are assembled, refined and featherbedded under the strong hands
of the Senate Majority Leader and the Assembly Speaker. Their budgets always benefit the great metropolis, and cost the rest
of the state dearly. The reason is simple and never varies. The basis of the top down political hierarchy rests upon the patronage
system that goes back to Tammany Hall. Boss Tweed is alive, well and in place in every community and in each district.
The Civil Service Employees Association, better known as the CSEA is a state of mind that permeates every
inch of the electorate. Benefits and cost of living raises are sacred in the scheme of state budgets. The size and growth
of government, on all levels, is the only empire left to build. Citizens are taxpayers, but those who derive their stipend
for “public service” have voted into office politicians who are hostile to wealth creation. Teachers may pay taxes,
but are immune to salary cuts. Common sense demands that business retractions and recessions require sacrifice by ALL
residents. But not in New York State. 911 is the newest excuse for further reparations.
At the core of political reality in New York State, is that industry and commerce continually shrinks, as
dependency upon the public sector to sustain the economy expands. The last kernel of private enterprise must be tapped to
feed the constituent of the communal community. Tax relief is but an apparition in unfounded hope. Political careers are made
and retained by lip service promises to the people, while poetic taxation schemes are sanctioned as ‘good government’.
This sad tale is all too true, but most taxpayers are unwilling to confront the cold hard facts that they are captive to a
system where true relief is impossible. Voting with one’s feet is rapidly becoming a non option, since this adaptation
in sensible governance is the prime export to every corner of the realm.
New York State residents are not fools, but they are slaves. It’s even worse in California, with their
even higher unconscionable budget deficit. As long as government services are allowed to expand and central planning remain
as the method of official occupation, enterprising business will continue to evaporate and meaningful commerce will decline
to levels where only debt and pension obligations remain.
Why is this reality so difficult for people to understand? With each decade, the taxes escalate and opportunity
lessens. Being a “ward of the state” is the modern day prerequisite for voting eligibility. Personal experience
distinctly concludes that voting out the rascals, when the ballots are cast by those who vote themselves incessant benefits
and infinite security, is impossible. Those who reject the public welfare culture, are left with a sham of suffrage, as they
suffer the burden and indignity of civil servants, servicing primarily themselves.
The news reports project that a Pataki veto will be overturned by the NYS legislature. So much for representative
democracy. If a billionaire like Bloomberg wants to adopt public employees, let him put them in his will. No doubt the deal
that New York State gets is painful, but it surely isn’t the right thing to do! As long as New York City runs political
roughshod, the future remains bleak. Rational and sensible public policy is one that scales back government programs, mandates
and services. Only with the encouragement and the return of the tangible empire builders; along with the retirement of the
parasites, the regulators and the engineers of nanny state - will prosperity return. The likelihood of that happening is about
as probable as every politician resigning at once and every public employee forgoing their pension. Folks; society has gone
stark raving mad. Just look to your neighbor or family members, they sustain this lunacy with every election cycle.
Gotham City is Gothic Utopia - you voted for it and now you will live under it’s horror.
SARTRE - May 4, 2003