Sunday, March 01, 2009

Golisano - Right on the Money.

In an O-D Guest Editorial today, Tom Golisano is right on the money. Statistics recently published by the Tax Foundation not only verify his point that taxes Upstate are disproportionate compared to Downstate, they show that when calculated as a percentage of property value, property taxes in Upstate New York are the highest IN THE NATION! Check out Mr. Golisano's website "Responsible New York."

I would be willing to bet that if a similar calculation were performed on utility rates, those, also, would be the highest in the nation.

What Mr. Golisano did not get into was the cause: State Policy forged from a Downstate Perspective. This was forced upon us by the US Supreme Court's 60s-era split decision in WMCA v Lomenzo which (erroneously in my view, see the dissent) said that 'one-man one-vote' was required by the 'equal protection' clause of the Constitution, and required reapportionment of the NYS legislature. Before reapportionment, Upstate interests were predominant in Senate legislation, Downstate in the Assembly, and the bill reconcilliation process that would take place before laws were passed to the governor for signature balanced both.

Since reapportionment, the Upstate Perspective has been lost. The Downstate Perspective has resulted in closure of the Shoreham Long Island Nuke plant, exemption of power line siting from SEQR review under the Environmental Conservation Law, the Marcy-South power line, routing our 'cheap' Upstate hydropower south to relieve Downstaters' higher rates (caused in part by closing Shoreham); maintaining Tolls on the Thruway long after the bonds were paid off and longer after the Federal government paid NYS for the road; removal of tolls from certain Downstate roads and transferring expenses to the Thruway; a host of regulations that make it more difficult for Upstate to maintain its manufacturers; rules that use state (our) money to encourage redevelopment on brownfields in Manhattan and Brooklyn but which are unworkable for Harbor Point or Bosserts in Utica where land values are lower; and a whole host of social programs that make sense in the Metropolitan area, but not here.

Nothing will change Upstate without recognizing this as the root cause.

Then the solution becomes evident: either get the Supreme Court to reverse itself and revert the state legislature to its prior makeup (which made us, truly, One Empire State), give Upstate home rule, or turn Upstate into a new state.

1 comment:

Greens and Beans said...

Allow upstate to secede from downstate New York and establish a new independent state. Next, commence to charge reparations to reimburse the new state for the power downstate has usurped and for retarding our economic development. Lift the tolls on the thruway and watch the upstate economy to not only come back to life, but become a world economic power. Within a few short years, I guarantee that downstate will be begging to reunite.