Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tax, Spend . . . Don't Spend . . .

Three news items caught our eyes this morning.

In Pataki vetoes $20 million for SUNYIT ice rink, it looks like all the "regional" plans for a sports facility are on ice, rendering moot the discussion of where it should be best located. The legislators are already planning to get around this one.

Rome mayor names chief of staff . . . Wow. Mayor Brown has taken a page out of Mayor Julian's playbook and appointed a $50K "Chief of Staff" to join the likes of the President and other Heads of State.

Sales tax rollback? Not so fast
. . . Of course ... The county legislators have money to give a break this year, but it apparently is not steady revenue to enable permanent removal of the tax.

While the first story is "bad news" for the region, it could be "good news" if such cuts are applied evenhandedly across the state (Binghamton U and its almost $90 million in new facilities and Albany Nanotach come to mind). The state cannot continue to spend on lavish new facilities that have a questionable Return on Investment and be able lower taxes and fees at the same time. Lowering taxes and fees, however, is essential to making New York competitive.

Even if you don't live in Rome, Mayor Brown's padding the payroll with another political appointee is bad for the region because it sends a signal: local government doesn't care how it spends your money as long as the political system is served. Rome, like Utica, is shrinking. Neither city needs these positions. Rome got along fine all these years without one. But someone from Sen. Meier's office will soon be out of a job, so a place had to be found for her. That's all this is, and all this ever is. When do our political leaders start doing what's best for the people?

Naturally, our Board of Legislators will have a cash shortfall next year and won't be able to fully roll back the sales tax. Why? Because they still spend too much. They can start saving by (1) eliminating their own salaries and benefits and (2) scheduling all meetings at night so that OTHER PEOPLE willing to serve at no cost will be able to run to take their places.

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