Friday, February 12, 2010

Right? Or Simply Too Far To The Right?

New Yorkers For Growth: Tea Party Or Tempest In A Teapot?

Surely, we can all agree, at least in principle, with the Mission Statement of New Yorkers for Growth: New Yorkers for Growth (NYFG) is dedicated to the proposition that excessive taxes and government spending are driving jobs, people, and businesses out of New York State. NYFG will support candidates for the New York State Legislature who, regardless of party, favor and vote for 1) lower taxes, 2) reduced reliance upon debt, and 3) reform of State and local government spending practices.

In fact, upon the surface, at least, New Yorkers for Growth appears to echo the very sentiments we at The Community Alliance have long expressed on this blog:

New Yorkers for Growth is dedicated to the proposition that the prosperity of the Empire State requires a fundamental change in state and local economic policies. By virtually any measure, New York imposes higher taxes, with a more intrusive regulatory structure than any other state.

Citizens of this state are fleeing in droves. Western New York and most of the Upstate region have experienced actual population declines or population growth far below the national average. Suburban population growth on Long Island and Westchester is stagnant, hampered by the highest property taxes in the nation. Even New York City has registered only miniscule population increases and would have population declines were it not for immigration from abroad.

Clearly, New Yorkers are voting with their feet by moving to other states. Our citizens are fleeing New York and the political establishment typically responds with just more of the same: higher taxes, increased spending at levels twice or three times the inflation rate, and more borrowing.

Citizens are frustrated with the unwillingness or inability of Albany to recognize the competitive challenges facing our state and its economy. Special interests seeking higher spending, taxes and debt have almost total sway on the political process. New Yorkers for Growth seeks to address this situation by supporting candidates for state and local office who support fiscally responsible policies which will restore our economy.

But really, who is New Yorkers for Growth, and where do they stand on the issues near and dear?

Its Board Members include John Faso, Assemblymember from 1986 to 2002 and GOP nominee for Governor (no reformer of the spendthrift status quo in Albany was he), and one Tom Dewey. Hmmm. As in, Dewey Defeats Truman?

Why, there's even a former correspondent (Kristen Fealy) with Faux News.

On the issues, no question it's the spending -- and borrowing to spend some more -- that's crippling us here in New York, but query as to what is truly the foundation of the espoused causes when New Yorkers for growth propound the following remarks:

President Obama has demonized insurance and drug companies, and accused Medicare and Medicaid of inefficiency and waste...

Yes. Obama, bad. Insurance and drug companies, good. You mean Medicare and Medicaid aren't inefficient and wrought with waste and fraud?

Onerous requirements under the State Environmental Quality Review Act requiring developers to submit time-consuming and often very expensive environmental impact statements also increase costs. In many parts of New York City, ill-considered zoning restrictions make it impossible to build new housing. Excessive mandates drive up the cost of health insurance, while also creating what economists refer to as deadweight losses. All of these regulations contribute to the high cost of living. And there are many more. The question is how to reduce the impact of regulation and thus the cost of living.

Too much regulation? Concern over the environment? Wasn't too little regulation and lack of oversight responsible, in great measure, for the economic mess in which we now find ourselves? And, yeah. That global warming hoax is getting in the way of building houses, power plants, and incinerators. Damn those #@!^;$! environmentalists.

...(in Massachusets a) tax cap has forced government at all levels to recognize that taxpayers can't afford to give government a blank check. A tax cap in New York would bring about the same result, while at the same time assuring that our schools receive the resources they need to succeed.

Sure, cap the school property tax -- not cut or eliminate it -- at, say, 4% per year, and (you do the math), in just 3 short years, the tax will have increased by more than 10%. With a "cap" in place, the school property tax will more than double in only 25 years. [Thankfully, few of us will still be around to pay it!]

Enactment of a school property tax cap is the only viable solution to what ails New York's hard-pressed homeowners.

A tax cap it not the solution, let alone a viable alternative. Why, it's not even stop-gap. The solution is to put an end to spend, spend, spend at the local level (that means cost controls by school boards and less kowtowing to special interests, including the unions), no more unfunded mandates from either Albany or Washington, and the full financing of that free public school system, as is required under the NYS Constitution, by the State.

Now don't get us wrong. New Yorkers for Growth floats some ideas worthy of consideration, if not adoption, including Health Care Courts (no, they will not decide whether to pull the plug on Grandma), Tort reform (particularly in the area of medical malpractice), fundamental changes to New York's income tax laws, and a fresh look at workforce development.

But make no mistake. New Yorkers for growth is a PAC (Political Action Committee), whose mission is to elect candidates to State office who will adhere to the PAC's agenda, stated or otherwise.

Not to say that the organization's position -- endorsements will be non-partisan and the PAC will support candidates, regardless of party, who express support for policies of fiscal responsibility at the state and local level -- is one that we all can't applaud and support. Still, we have to be leary, and proceed with something more than passing caution, where the potential and the means exist to masquerade partisan politics of a most dangerous and destructive kind as economic growth through policies of fiscal responsibility

After all, some of us still remember the Georges -- Pataki and Bush II -- both of whom wore the mantle of fiscal conservatives while creating deficit out of surplus.

We join with New Yorkers for Growth in calling for substantive and meaningful reforms in State and local government that, prudently implemented, will usher in an era of both fiscal and social responsibility, with resultant prosperity for all citizens of the Empire State.

Beyond that, we must remain ever vigilant that it isn't the fox (as in news, or otherwise) that is guarding the hen house!


  1. They can form 10 different "Tea Party's". It won't make much of a difference until the electorate participates in greater numbers and holds our elected officials accountable for their actions.

    Take the Town of Hempstead for instance. Kate Murray and her Board have presided over an unprecedented decline in the Town, yet the electorate fails to throw them out. Would this happen if the electorate were informed and engaged in the daily "goings on"? I think not.

    Until we the voters get our acts together in far greater numbers, how do we expect our elected officials to get their acts together, no matter what party they come from?

  2. Let me echo the comment above, but aside from laying responsibilty at the feet of Hempstead's voters, I think the Democratic party has to be accountable here as well. One of the keys to raising consciousness among voters is an active two-party system, which we really don't have here. The campaigns the Democrats have run against Murray (especially the last one) have been a joke. Meanwhile, there are any number of ways to challenge her so-called record.

    I also fault Newsday, which in my view, is far too predisposed to endorsing incumbents with a proven record of mediocrity.