Thursday, February 24, 2005

Infighting bad for locals

I don't think the politicians are really interested in hearing what people think unless it is agreement with their viewpoint on things. The "infighting" that is going on over the sales tax makes great theater, but it is going nowhere. Utica and Whitestown's fight with the county may make their leaders "heroes"to their local constituencies, but they are not solving the real problems of the area: The area is uncompetitive with other parts of country. Government at all levels in NYS charges far to much in taxes and fees -- and life is made too complicated -- for companies to want to locate jobs here. The only answer government comes up with is more government in the form of special incentives and programs -- which creates more taxes and complications and drives more away!

I actually like seeing some of the fighting -- unfortunately there is not nearly enough to thoroughly air the issues. We are controlled by an elite that thinks it has all the answers -- and is too arrogant to listen to dissenting voices (or does things too quickly, or in secret, before dissent can develop) and consider that it might be on the wrong track.

The airport move I believe is one example of an issue that has not been thououghly aired. Is it really worth spending millions of taxpayer money to abandon a perfectly good and appropriately sized county airport -- placing at risk the jobs and investment in infrastructure there -- and move it to Rome to support Empire Aero (who has received millions in taxpayer subsidies already). If EA does not succeed, what have we accomplished? Simply spending millions to duplicate something we already have -- and -- maybe saddling ourselves with something that is too big to be practical -- doesn't seem smart. I would rather they take the millions of federal funds and try to turn Griffiss into something completely different from what we now have -- a cargo port to serve the Northeast. A Gamble to be sure. But if the money turns out to have been wasted there, at least we would not have destroyed the nice airport we now have.

As far as Genesis goes, I was inspired to join them when I read that they had sponsored a speaker who proposed turning griffiss into a cargo port.. I thought -- Wow, finally a group of people with new fresh ideas ... and willing to seek out experts in the field to get sound advice ... Well, it really hasn't gone very far since. Genesis has sponsored some nice events, and they are nice "cheer leaders" for this community which needs and deserves an accent on the positive -- but after having attended 2 years worth of meetings I'm frustrated that there is no reaching out to the intelligence in the room to get them to work on identifying and solving the region's problems. There is far too much fear of "stepping on toes" of elected officials or various groups or organizations. Our region will not move forward by merely putting on rose-colored glasses and chatting up the positive.

[For CONTEXT and FOLLOWUP of this post, see The Pulse]

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