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March 22, 2013 - John Stack
Reading the news on what’s in (or out) of the 2013 NYS Budget can make your head swim. I would understand if the big news was modifying the SAFEACT or pension reform. But no, of course it’s a bunch of fluff and silliness.
First, the major silliness. When does the budget statutorily need to be adopted? April 1. When do our legislators go on spring break? Last 2 weeks of March. You can’t make this stuff up.
One of the biggest news about the proposed budget is about a $350 …uh rebate (?) going out to taxpayers. Studies have shown that to get the most bang for the buck, the lower income strata spend that money and put it right back into the economy. The higher you go up the income scale, the less that gets spent back into the economy. But…this rebate is only for true middle classers. Homeowner. With a kid. Making between $40,000 and $300,000. So, those most needing help – low income earners, living paycheck to paycheck, seniors on fixed incomes, renters, they get nada. $350? Really? Is that going to make a difference in my income bracket of $40,000 to $300,000? With kids, a mortgage and property taxes? And I don’t get it until next year, so it does me no good whatsoever this year, nor NY’s economy? In January, good chance it is going straight to Hyde Fuel to pay for oil to heat my house. That changes the dynamic of our economy not a whit. It’s an embarrassment. What economic wunderkind did a cost benefit analysis of this one? Does it help some political party to say they gave some relief to middle class taxpayers? How about some pension reform? How about real mandate relief? How about paying down some bonds? Paying $500 million now on some long term bond would probably save $250 million even with historically low rates. Not only would that make more sense, but in the end, I would be theoretically paying less in taxes because less debt to pay, fairer property taxes based upon more predictable municipal pension obligations, and less money needed to pay for unneeded mandates. No one asked for this, but the legislature can’t seem to slapping themselves on the back enough for this coup.
Ok, they are discussing changing the gun law passed so hastily in January. One of the most roundly criticized parts of the law (and rightly so) was the limit of 7 round magazines for guns. No longer could you buy a gun in NY (starting April 15) with a 10 round magazine.,If you had a gun with a 10 round clip, it could only have 7 rounds in it (except if you were at a shooting range or competition). Cuomo wants to fix an inconsistency, because gun manufacturers basically make 10 round clips, and little to no 7 round magazines. So…he feels he can allow 10 round magazines …but…they can still only carry 7 bullets at any one time..(Cue it Liam – Really?”) I think I’d have a better chance of keeping my lunch down watching sausage making than law making...Oh yeah. One thing most people agree on? Part of the problem with gun violence is the mentally unstable. Of course the budget cuts $120 million for the developmentally disabled...(but gives me a $350 rebate!!)
More on the bizarre. In NY, it is a misdemeanor to possess small amounts of marijuana in public. In your own home, same amount is a violation. In NYC, this is a big problem because of NYC and their ‘stop and frisk’ which nets lots and lots of people carrying small amounts of marijuana and makes them criminals. So, the governor is proposing to change this, so the two are treated similarly. I guess that makes sense..but wait.. this would only apply to NYC? And it is really a backdoor way to ‘solve’ the ‘stop and frisk’ problem in NYC? Liam? To paraphrase Yoda – “Do, or do not. Do not pander’
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