In early February nikitas3.com wrote an editorial called Will a Democrat Save New York State? in reference to the somewhat bold moves that Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo is making to fix his state’s $10 billion budget gap.
In that editorial, nikitas3.com said:
‘The new governor of New York state is Democrat Andrew Cuomo and he may be seeing the light.
May be seeing the light… Nothing is for certain.
…In his recent budget address Cuomo has called the state budget process a “sham” created by special-interest groups. He pointed out that automatic budget increases over the years have pushed the state into near-bankruptcy and is talking tough about fixing the problem with substantial spending cuts, not the usual tax increases.
…So rather than pushing for relentless tax increases like most of the Democrats of the last 50 years Cuomo is talking about real budget cuts to put the state back onto a sound fiscal track.
This sounds like a Republican, yet Cuomo is the most liberal of Democrats. Which means that perhaps the tide is turning. Perhaps… Because even Cuomo understands that New York is in a deep hole and the future looks bleak without blockbuster reforms.
…*Cuomo is proposing a $132.9 billion budget that will reduce year-to-year spending for the first time in more than a decade.
*The once-sacred-cows of education and health care are going to be cut. Medicaid and local school aid are set to be cut $2.85 billion each.
….These certainly sound like good ideas. Whether Cuomo follows through is another issue. If he does not, New York faces disaster and continued population stagnation and capital flight.
The big problem is that even if Cuomo succeeds, New York state only will be treading water, not advancing in any way. It still is highly taxed, is generally inhospitable to business, is full of rabid leftists and will not change until its spending is reduced much more drastically.’ (end of nikitas3.com editorial excerpt)
In short, nikitas3.com was vaguely optimistic but skeptical. And as it turns out, skeptical for good reason. Because as it turns out Cuomo will never implement genuine Wisconsin-type reforms. New York is the most highly-taxed state in the union, and unless there are very significant cuts in government spending beyond the $10 billion, the state will continue to stagnate and sink economically. It just cannot prosper with its current tax regime. Cuomo is only keeping the state from collapsing.
In Massachusetts, meanwhile, according to boston.com:
‘Governor Deval Patrick, who has forced out a number of top executives at independent state agencies, is now planning to slash salaries at the agencies, where many top-level staffers earn more than twice his annual pay of $140,000.
Gregory Bialecki, the governor’s secretary of housing and economic development, said Patrick is reviewing salaries for chief executives and lower-level workers at the state’s 42 independent agencies and will reduce those he believes are excessive. In some cases, Bialecki said, the governor will also seek to combine agencies or eliminate jobs to further cut costs in the next year.
…In seeking to trim and combine the agencies, the governor is forging ahead with a vow he made four years ago, to seize control of a constellation of agencies that operate beyond his direct control. The agencies, which were designed to function without political interference, are not considered fully public because they do not rely solely on state aid for their operations and answer to independent boards. (end of excerpt)
But what these Democrats are doing is simply treading water. They are doing what they need to do just to keep their states solvent. They are executing highly-publicized actions that have little real effect. For instance Cuomo is seeking to rein in public schools superintendents’ salaries. Big deal. Behind the scenes little is going to change. Deval Patrick will never really reform the massive, bloated welfare state or challenge the entrenched bureaucracy.
According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, 2006 – 2011, New York ranks dead last (50th) for its business tax climate, while Massachusetts is 32nd on the basis of just taxes alone. Many other factors figure into the state’s business climate, and neither Massachusetts nor New York is moving in the right direction on those other factors. Massachusetts is more concerned about gay power than about economic power or electrical power. Some businesses already have departed simply because ‘green energy’ in Massachusetts has jacked up the price of electricity.
A new commercial on New York radio stations says that New York state has lost 400,000 jobs and 1.7 million residents in the last 10 years. So in the 55 years after the postwar boom started – between 1945 and 2000 – the leftists undermined the economy of one of the richest places on earth, New York state, with massive spending and taxes. It does not take the left long to destroy entire states and now they are doing the same to the whole country.
So this current crisis is much, much deeper. The whole government bureaucracy and welfare state are drawing huge amounts of wealth out of these two states and out of many other states and now the federal government. Nikitas3.com called for 20% across-the-board pay/benefit/pension cuts for the 200,000 state employees in New York state and calls for similar cuts in Massachusetts. Along with steep cuts in the welfare state spending, these drastic actions are the only thing that can revive these states’ economies. Otherwise they remain utterly stagnant.
Neither Cuomo nor Patrick really will make the necessary cuts, nor will Brown in California. They are Democrats. These states need major restructuring as is happening in Wisconsin. But Democrats will never do the really hard work. Their political lives depend on the status quo.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.