Friday, April 03, 2009

Corporate Welfare & Municipal Welfare . . .

. . . . paid for by those who can least afford it. That is what we read about in the news today.

We've all seen statistics from time to time that tell us that Herkimer County is one of the poorer places in the country. But what does it do? It gives $2 Million away to a private corporation in a desperate hope to retain jobs. That's about $33 for every man woman and child living in Herkimer County . . . or about three or four meals each (more if you do your own cooking).

Aside from the fact that this donation violates the State Constitution Article VIII, it raises a couple questions. If Herkimer county has to give Remington Arms an incentive to stay here, what does that say about the company? What does that say about the community and the state?

If Herkimer County needs to bribe companies to stay there, then there is something really really wrong. The donation to Union Tools may have delayed, but did not stop, its jobs from being sent to China. It is better for Herkimer County to address the root of the problem than to, in effect, give an aspirin to a dying patient (itself).

- o - 0 - o -

Meanwhile local officials in the Villages of New York Mills and New Hartford are worried about the cost of fixes to their sewer systems. And so are home owners in these places who, apparently, will be required to institute fixes on their own properties by the County Sewer Gestapo. Where does the welfare come from - and who gets the benefit - here?

Assuming arguendo that the municipalities will be required to pay for the fixes within their borders as alleged by the O-D (there has been no sign of that happening so far), it looks like the welfare will come from the residents of the Villages (to fix issues within the villages) and the sewer users in general -- the bulk of whom reside in the City of Utica.

The recipient of the welfare will be the TOWN of New Hartford and Oneida County, because it was the County allowing illegal sewer connections in New Hartford that brought about the entire Consent Order mess. The vast growth in tax base that was nourished by the violation of environmental laws occurred in the Town of New Hartford, which allowed more money to flow into the New Hartford TOWN's coffers, NH School District's coffers, and Oneida County's coffers. Interestingly, these are the same entities who are ripping off the taxpayers to pay for roads in a private development in the New Hartford Business Park.

New Hartford Town's tax base exceeds that of Utica. The Town should be paying for all this.


Anonymous said...

All this sewer tax and where does the money go. Water in and water out. Pay both ways. Still the sewer and water infrastructure is deplorable. One only has to drive down any street and hit the collapsing manholes. Nothing ever gets planned for the future. Always a band-aid till that falls off. Hire and study and more study. Seems as though we just exist with no plans for the future. Master plans mean nothing if there is no reaction but good feelings and good press. Just not good business practices. I hope future elections will bring some solid action from these local officials. Everyone is beginning to finally see just what little if anything any one of them has accomplished. Never ready, never prepared.

Greens and Beans said...

The Herkimer County gift saga could be a very interesting story to follow! I chose to view this as an opportunity to make a political statement rather than dismiss this as a County Government blunder. Strikeslip is correct in terms of Herkimer County’s choice to flagrantly infringe upon Article VIII of the New York State Constitution. It is difficult to fathom how the Herkimer’s Legal Counsel would allow this deliberate illegal maneuver except to send a loud and clear message to New York Governor Paterson and the lock-step Legislature for the impending State Budget that will deliver the death blow to upstate jobs.

The cost of conducting business in Upstate New York is, and will become more, cost prohibitive. To attract new businesses and to retain existing business is all but impossible. It is obvious that Herkimer County is desperate to retain the precious jobs that Remington Arms provides to its residents. Remington Arms has been the premier employer and a generous corporate neighbor in Herkimer County for decades. Regardless of the number of times that the Remington Arms division has changed hands, it is indeed worth retaining. This is particularly true in light of Governor Paterson’s proposed State budget. This budget will make New York State (particularly Upstate New York) a hostile place to conduct business. The proposed State Budget raises taxes, creates new taxes, and places new fees on just about every aspect of life. To start up or relocate a prosperous business in Central New York at this time would be simply ludicrous. The new State budget should fight this recession by cutting government expenses and cutting taxes to stimulate the economy. But New York’s Governor and Legislature opted to take the easy route by placing the blame on the global recession. They took the opportunity to raise existing fees and taxes on top of introducing new fees and taxes that may never be reversed.

It takes GUTS to blatantly break the law to prove a point. But this is the spirit that our founding fathers built this nation upon. I give Herkimer County credit for not simply crafting some sort of tax rebate or economic development gift to deliver the funds to Remington Arms. Instead they chose to take the road less traveled. They opted to outright give Remington the cash. Their next move will be to wait and see if the State Attorney General’s Office will file legal charges against Herkimer County. The impending legal battle could make a mockery out of the “tax and spend” State government that is supposed to be “for the people” instead of being against the people. The Patriots who participated in the Boston Tea Party would be proud of the Patriots in Herkimer County today.

Anonymous said...


Why? North Carolina or Griffi$$ Business and Technology Park ......

Taking bets anyone? Highest bidder wins.

Anonymous said...

But then according to the OD yesterday, the Utica Zoo could be inline for some government handouts. $200,000 to improve the "gibbon" monkey exhibit so they can hang naturally. Now there is a real job producing economic rebound project. I can't wait to pay to get in to see that. I just can not believe that these are the projects that our leaders have shovel ready. Nothing against the zoo, but it needs to be self supporting.