Ah, what a week it has been.  In some ways, it was typical.  In others, it is extraordinary.  What do I mean by that?  Let me explain.

On Monday, I went to Albany to meet with other like-minded groups about working together to improve the state.  We have agreed that to be effective in this legislative session and in November’s elections, we must continue to work together.   And we will.  Why?  Because all of us, and all of you, are angry as hell about how we are being treated by some of our elected officials.  And that bad treatment must stop.  So stay tuned to learn how you will be able to help us turn this state around.

I then went to testify at a legislative hearing on the Executive Budget.  Our message was clear:  There should be no increase in spending, no new taxes and fees. And in fact, we must lower spending if we are to recover.  Remember, we are the organization that two weeks ago presented a plan to get the NYS budget to $109B by 2015.  It can be done.  The question is: Do our elected officials have the courage to make the necessary cuts?  The answer is: They will when we can create in them fear that if they don’t,  they’ll get voted out of office.

The remainder of the week was spent on the road recruiting new organizations to join our coalition.  We presented to the East Aurora Chamber of Commerce and the Home Builders and Remodelers of CNY.  They are both poised to get more active and help advance our cause.  In addition to the meetings, we dealt with legislation that, surprise, surprise, wants to add more regulations and burdens on our businesses.  And when their costs go up, so too will the rates they charge to us.

And now, as the week comes to a close, we get more interesting developments.  The first one makes me chuckle.  The City of Ithaca Common Council is considering implementing recommendations from a CSEA Classification and Compensation Study.  What’s that, you ask?  Well, CSEA is the union that represents public workers.  They actually did a study comparing pay rates in Ithaca to larger cities like Syracuse, cities in higher cost regions like Poughkeepsie, and determined that public workers in Ithaca were underpaid.  Yet, they never compared the pay rates to private sector employees in those communities.  So how can you say that they are underpaid…by $1.4M?  That is just insanity.  The economy isn’t improving, pension costs are soaring, and yet they actually believe that it is a good time to load more cost on to taxpayers.  This is what we are fighting folks… a complete lack of acceptance that we the taxpayers just can’t take any more.  If the Ithaca Common Council votes to accept that increase, they should be removed from office immediately.

We’ll watch what happens over the weekend (there are rumors of a juicy story from the New York Times) and talk to you Monday.  Hey, speaking of which, if you are in Albany on  Monday, come on over to The Palace Theater and join us for Upstate Night from 6-9 PM.