We’ve heard the calls for change over the last several years. I often wonder what people think of when the topic comes up. Particularly, in New York State which has been wrought with scandal as well as one crisis after the next with regard to fiscal matters.
Given the calls for “change”, let us also remember NY State has very significant challenges: minimal turnover in representation leading to long careers for our representatives, negative views of the legislature, low popularity and support for Governor Paterson, private sector exit from the State, and a 2010 $8.2 billion State budget deficit.
When we hear about “change”, is it change in how government allocates resources? Is it the size of government that should change? or, is it, more fundamental in terms of how government should view itself with regard to the citizens it represents? Is there a general consensus on what change would look like?
My own sense is that there needs to be fundamental change in NYS spending. How it allocates resources and the level of spending citizens are willing to commit to. Given there has been approximately a 20% reduction in wealth for the average household in the US over the last several years given the financial crisis, why not suggest a 20% reduction in overall spending from the NY state budget?
Moreover, with commitments to shrinking State spending, we create an environment more supportive for business and more tax friendly for NYS residents. Also, how about change in how we view and interact with our representation in this state? Our representatives have little worry with regard to change due to low turnover in the State Legislature (less than 15%), no term limits and district lines drawn to favor long tenures in the State Capital. More active grass roots campaigns (such as the Unshackle Army) and highlighting representation through social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) can give citizens more exposure to their representation to engage more dialog and debate on the issues. Certainly, change that could be felt by our State representatives.
Regardless of your own assumptions on “Change” in NYS, a more active and passionate electorate that holds our representatives accountable and ensures the wishes of the citizens of the state will certainly be a catalyst for change that we can, hopefully, believe in for NYS. The time is right and here’s your chance in 2010 to get involved to get the right level of change you believe is necessary for NYS!
Larry is an Unshackle Army member and active Facebook fan, who will be guest blogging for Unshackle Upstate. If you are interested in becoming a guest blogger, visit http://unshackleupstate.com/army and fill out the form.