The other day, I was sitting with my son flipping through stations and we stopped on Nickelodeon. There was a show on called Rugrats: All Grown Up. I stopped for two reasons. The first was because I remember watching the youthful Rugrats with my older son so I wanted to see how they made the transition (don’t ask why I cared). The second was because it made me chuckle. I started to think…I wonder what our state government would look like if it ever grows-up? And you know what? It’s about time that it did.
When our state government grows up…they will realize that we can no longer afford the size and scope of the services provided. Take, for instance, Medicaid. At nearly $1 billion dollars a week (it will be more than a billion next year), our Medicaid system (http://bit.ly/dzlXDR) is too costly and needs to be brought in line with what other states are providing. It has been said that by 2012, potentially 1 out of every 4 New Yorkers will be enrolled in federal/state supported insurance program. We can’t afford the Mercedez-Benz anymore. But we can afford a Ford Taurus.
When our state government grows up…they will realize that property taxes that are 79% above the national average (http://bit.ly/b5uGC5) are too high. And let’s not offer gimmicky solutions that only move the pieces of the puzzle around. That’s what kids will do. Grown-ups would roll up their sleeves, identify the core reasons for the failure and start rebuilding. It’s what GM just went through and guess what…it was painful, nobody liked it, but GM is again a stable business with a bright future (and I believe has paid back their bail-out money).
When our state government grows up…they’ll stop adding taxes and fees to our energy and our healthcare and insurance industry. Currently, nearly 25% of every dollar is for taxes and fees (http://bit.ly/bO7oFu). That’s disgusting. We (actually it is the insurance companies…but it gets to us eventually) pay more than $4 billion dollars a year in taxes, fees and assessments on health insurance or healthcare. When health insurance is already so expensive, more taxes, fees and assessments are irresponsible and wrong.
When our state government grows up…debt, borrowing and bonding will not be words they use. New York’s debt burden is roughly $48 billion dollars. That means that about 17% of every dollar collected in taxes is dedicated to debt service. That’s WAY TOO much. And when you have that much debt, you shouldn’t even consider bonding projects so that you have more dollars available for operations. And you should NEVER even thinking about borrowing to cover the deficits you refuse to control.
The bottom line is that it is time for our elected officials…all of them…to grow up. The job you hold is not about you. It’s about the people who elected you to represent them. The recent Siena poll is a clear indication that New Yorker’s do not want more taxes, fees or borrowing. They want the issues addressed, they want real solutions to the problems, and they want them now.
Just like the characters from The Rugrats, it’s time for our government to grow up. It’s time to stop using our government as your personal playground.
November 2, Judgment Day (http://bit.ly/dmPv2N), is only 108 days away. Incumbents and challengers alike have 108 days to convince voters why we should elect them to office. It’s time for the grown-ups to step forward and start making the right decisions for New York.