Friday, April 16, 2010

The Straight Talk Express?

Albany To NYers: Tell Us How To Cut Government Spending

Given up on our State Legislators' ability to cut the pork, rein in the spending, trim property taxes, and eliminate the waste?

Apparently, so has Governor Paterson, who, through the Office of Taxpayer Accountability (how about an Office of Government Accountability? The taxpayers' wallets are already transparent), has now created Straight Talk from the Taxpayer, where you, the taxpayer, can "submit, discuss, and vote on ideas to cut government spending, streamline government operations, save taxpayer dollars, and provide local property tax relief."

Sort of like the Governor's request for ideas on how to spend the billions of dollars NY received in federal stimulus money. You -- and we -- suggested spending on education, health care, debt retirement, transportation, and infrastructure. And what did Albany spend our money on? A monument to survivors of the Irish potato famine who drowned in shipwrecks off Long Island.

Not that the folks in Albany are likely to listen to our ideas -- or yours, for that matter -- let alone to heed the advice to kick the spending habit, and to put what little money remains in the public coffers where it can help (i.e., funding public education, keeping hospitals open, fixing bridges and roadways, and improving mass transit), but hey, if it makes you feel any better (a catharsis, if nothing more), send in your ideas.

The Governor has also announced the launching of  EmpireStat, a new, data-based government performance and accountability system. "Through EmpireStat, taxpayers will be able to monitor work and progress through monthly reports and other information and data posted on this web page," says Paterson.[Next week, Paterson will no doubt announce the launching of the Titanic!]

Among the 175 ideas already submitted by New Yorkers -- Turn Out the Lights:

Just a very simple idea but as I drive by the Empire State Plaza at night, I see the state buildings like the huge Corning Tower ablaze with lights. Let's require state employees to turn off the lights when they leave. Imagine the decrease in the energy bills our tax payer dollar fund if all those lights were only used when needed?

Yeah. Turn out the lights at the State Capitol. Or should we say, pull the plug? Now that's the best idea we've heard in a long, long time. . .

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