Diary

New York is dying--and the powerful unions don't feel a thing

Even in New York’s dying moments, the powerful teachers unions (owners of almost every NY politician) don’t sacrifice one damn cent.

From Bloomberg.com:

Paterson to Use Executive Power to Narrow New York Budget Gap
By Michael Quint
Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) — New York Governor David Paterson said that he will act to close $1.6 billion of the state’s $3.1 billion deficit by executive order after negotiations stalled with lawmakers to close the entire gap.

New York, the third-largest U.S. state by population, can survive a December cash squeeze by borrowing from government agencies, Paterson said today on a conference call from New York City. Lawmakers must act soon on least $1.5 billion of additional cuts and plans for one-time revenue, he said.

The state faces another cash shortage in March, when bills deferred in recent months come due, Paterson said. Lawmakers haven’t agreed on a deficit reduction plan since a gubernatorial proposal on Oct. 15, he said.

“We are at that day of reckoning,” Paterson said. “When are they going to do their job?”

A 3 percent cut in aid to schools recommended by Paterson would be much less painful than if the state missed legal deadlines for those payments, the governor said. Funds normally paid early to schools have already been delayed to the legal due date in December, he said.

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate said before this weekend’s negotiations that they were opposed to any cuts in aid to education.

What business is there where you can retire at age 55–full pension and healthcare? People now live to 65, 75, 85, 95–that’s 30 or 40 years of benefits. The teachers, of course!

I’ll never forget when NY city council members Robert Jackson (education chair) and John Liu (Working Families Party/ACORN, now the city’s comptroller) led a teachers union rally. I can’t find the video just now. Jackson shouted: “Union! Union! Union!” This guy’s supposed to be the gatekeeper for the taxpayer!

Who can forget earlier this year when the NY city council grilled the city’s Department of Education with questions straight off of teachers union pre-printed cue cards:

UNION’S ‘CUE’ TIPS
TEACHERS TOLD COUNCIL JUST WHAT TO ASK
By YOAV GONEN Education Reporter
Posted: 2:30 AM, April 8, 2009
Now roll over! Now speak!

The powerful teachers union had City Council members on a short leash this week — crafting cue cards with questions for legislators to ask at a hearing.

It was an unusually aggressive attempt to direct the interrogation of witnesses regarding charter schools, according to City Council officials.

The TelePrompTer-like scripts were quietly hand-delivered to sympathetic members by a union rep during the hearing and contained tough, leading questions for Department of Education officials and softball inquiries for a United Federation of Teachers official.

You think the CBO scoring of this healthcare bill is nuts? Cost savings from nowhere? The CBO says it will cut the deficit while the Cato Institute says it will cost us $6 trillion? Well, welcome to New York! Here a union actuary scores bills, stating that extra union benefits will cost little or nothing:

Assembly Halts Bills With Analysis by Union-Paid Actuary
By DANNY HAKIM
Published: May 17, 2008
The State Assembly will halt action on all legislation that relied on the financial analyses of an actuary who was being paid by labor unions, and the bills will undergo new reviews, the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said on Friday.

The move, which will affect scores of pending bills, came a day after The New York Times reported that the Legislature had been using the actuary, Jonathan Schwartz, to analyze the financial impact of pension benefit bills while he was being paid by labor unions.

Under state law, all pension legislation must be accompanied by “fiscal notes,” which accompany the text of the bills and are intended to explain to the public the cost of whatever changes are being proposed.

Mr. Schwartz prepared fiscal notes on hundreds of union-backed bills involving New York City pensions in recent years, but his financial relationship with the unions was not disclosed.

Let’s go to this fabulous new website, Recovery.gov, for the top states by jobs created/saved:

2. New York 40,620.04 8.9%

Number two! New York is awash in government jobs! Glory hallelujah!

Now let’s look at New York’s top funded recipient:

New York City Board of Education $1,417,075,345

A billion and a half dollars to the New York City Board of Education! The Board of Education (BOE) doesn’t even exist, being replaced several years ago by the Department of Education (DOE). Way to go, New York City teachers! That’s how to get New York’s economy up and running! More money to the shovel-ready teachers unions!

Let’s look further down that Recovery.gov list:

New York State Education Department $457,073,877
TRUSTEES OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK $60,857,629
THE TRUSTEES OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK INC $50,133,302
(Isn’t Columbia University a private institution? Free government money–what a deal!–B.P.)
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (INC) $48,467,855
BOARD OF EDUCATION, BUFFALO NY $45,210,399
ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT $42,134,944

Millions upon millions for New York education? Aren’t people leaving New York? Aren’t there fewer students? Aren’t these government jobs?

If you really wanted to stimulate the economy, why not just give tax breaks to small business owners?

Why support municipal labor unions?

Here’s a cheery article from New York Magazine:

The State We’re In
When even Louisiana is better run than New York State, what’s next? California, here we come.
By Chris Smith Published Nov 29, 2009

This is from Newsday:

Paterson acts on his own to hack $1.6B off deficit
November 29, 2009 By JAMES T. MADORE [email protected]

ALBANY – With talks stalled on closing the budget deficit, Gov. David A. Paterson Sunday acted alone to save $1.6 billion as New York faces running out of cash on Dec. 31.

Paterson, displaying a weary frustration with the legislature, put into motion proposals that he made on Oct. 15. The steps don’t require lawmakers’ approval.

The governor plans to cut $447 million from state agencies and save $300 million through lower reimbursement of drug costs and postponement of health care spending, among other administrative steps. He anticipates recovering more money from Medicaid fraud, workers’ compensation and utility taxes.
(…)
Despite his actions, Paterson said lawmakers still must immediately come up with about $1.5 billion in spending cuts to avert a “cash crunch,” in which the state cannot pay bills without borrowing. He has pushed for midyear cuts to school aid, which the Senate opposes.
(…)
New York owes $1.4 billion next month to public schools, local governments and health care providers. There will be only $39 million left in the treasury on Dec. 31 even if Paterson and lawmakers agree on how to pay bills and wipe out this year’s $3.2-billion deficit. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has forecast red ink on Dec. 31.

New York is in this bankrupt condition even with all that one-shot free money from “stimulus.”

I’ve told people for years that New York stinks! Both Democrats and Republicans–all bought. I’ve said that only a Constitutional Convention can clean out the stable. Elections will never do it. New York really returned to greatness under Eliot Spitzer, huh? He had a mandate to change things–how did that turn out?

The day of reckoning comes and the teachers unions don’t feel a thing.

New York can always raise taxes, right?

GET OUT OF THIS STATE AS FAST AS YOU CAN!