New York City Comptroller John Liu proposed a self-described "crazy idea" on Wednesday: get rid of all taxpayer-funded subsidies for private businesses and lower taxes for all businesses across-the-board. "That way we don't create unlevel playing fields even within our own city, where completely unsubsidized businesses have to continuously compete with their neighbors, some of them down the street, some of them a couple miles away, that are getting significant subsidies from taxpayers," Mr. Liu said. "Let's level the playing field for everybody."The article identifies Mr. Liu as one of the Democratic contenders for Mayor. And THAT's really the ONLY thing that seems crazy about this idea: that it comes from a New York City Democrat!
Other contenders quickly dismissed this idea, and the City administration jumped in to claim how its use of taxpayers dollars "leveraged" billions in private investments to create "tens of thousands" of jobs, and that "independent watchdog" groups held its IDA up as a "model" of "transparency" and "robust efforts to protect taxpayer dollars." (The buzzwords and rhetoric from the economic development types gets tiring).
It's funny how the others totally missed or intentionally ignored the "create unlevel playing fields" argument. But that's not unexpected because eliminating crony capitalism would eliminate the source of political power for many of these people.
Mr. Liu's position sharply contrasts with that of Governor Cuomo who toured the area yesterday Per the Governor (via WIBX)
“I want to make sure that we’re using taxpayer money wisely and we’re investing in the best plans that have a high likelihood of success,” Cuomo said. “This is about creating jobs, and I support taxpayer investment to create jobs. But, I want to make sure that we’re actually creating the jobs. That’s what the competition helps us do.”Right! The "competition" between New York's regions can do no such thing because it is phony -- set up by Mr. Cuomo himself, rather than the marketplace.
Mr. Liu is on the right track.
The question for us Upstaters: Can we get Mr. Liu to set his sights a hundred miles north of Gracie Mansion?