Monday, March 30, 2009

Paterson Provides an Opening for Republicans

The just concluded budget negotiation, probably cements the demise of Governor Paterson-unable to hold the line against job killing taxes and runaway state spending. Fred Dicker captures this in his characterization of the governor's hapless staff: "This is the demolition squad that conspired with the Assembly's hidebound eminence grise, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the Senate's clueless new Democratic leadership to prepare a budget with the biggest set of destructive tax hikes in already-overtaxed New York history -- even as Wall Street collapses and suburban and upstate residents continue to flee. They've put the governor on a path to plunge even lower than the record-low 19 percent "approval" rating he received in a poll last week."

And what of the state senate, just recently captured by the Democrats? For Dean Skelos' deposed crew, this could be the proverbial opening they can drive a truck through-especially if Paterson manges to stay at the top of the ticket in 2010. As the NY Daily News reports: "The new package, which lawmakers will begin voting on Tuesday, is said to contain $5.2 billion in new taxes and fees, though critics say it's likely closer to $7 billion or $8 billion. The biggest increase is a three-year hike in the personal income tax on families making at least $300,000 that is expected to raise $4 billion. Everyday New Yorkers, businesses and the health care industry will all be hit with an array of new taxes and fees. Among those are vehicle registration fees, a cigar tax, a beer and wine tax, a utility assessment, an auto insurance surcharge, driver's license fees, a rental car tax and a registration fee for tobacco sellers. Bottled water drinkers will pay a nickel more because the drink has been added to the 5-cent bottle deposit law"

There appears to be little effort to rein in government spending, or to control the size and scope of the public sector-what happened to "shared sacrifice?" As the NY Post opines: "The $132 billion budget contains some $4 billion in income-tax hikes and $3.5 billion in other new imposts and fees. It incorporates no awareness whatsoever of New York's all-but-collapsing private-sector economy -- while treating New York's cosseted public sector quite well, thank you very much."

As for the euphemistically labeled, Working Families Party; this inaptly named crew helped to midwife the biggest assault on the state's hardest working families-its genuine middle class-while fraudulently holding the working families banner: "Well served, however, are Albany's myriad special interests: The public-employee unions and their handmaiden, the Working Families Party..."

So with state spending increasing! during a fiscal meltdown, the Albany leadership triumvirate has created a gigantic opportunity for the recrudescence of Republican rule-with two thirds of the troika being extremely vulnerable to being toppled by an irate home owner and tax payer revolt; especially if a strong standard bearer is found for 2010.