Why is it that once the budget is passed, there seems to be a sense that we no longer have to think about the finances of the state?  Do people think that because the budget that was passed spends less and doesn’t include new taxes, we are all set?  You’ve probably heard that Bobby McFerrin song from 1988, “Don’t worry…be happy.”  But is that how New Yorkers should be feeling about the state of our state?  I say NO!

I was in Albany yesterday, and in several meetings we heard about issues like ethics reform, redistricting, and marriage equality.  An argument can be made that each of these is an important issue.  But the simple fact remains that resolving any or all of these issues will do nothing to lower our taxes or create jobs.  But working on these issues WILL distract our elected officials from dealing with bigger issues that still need to be tackled.

What are those big issues?  From Unshackle’s point of view:

  1. The Assembly needs to pass the 2-percent property tax cap (http://bit.ly/gK8KZM).  Gov. Cuomo introduced it as a program bill and the Senate passed it – along bipartisan lines and with upstate and downstate support.  It is time for the Assembly to deliver the cap.
  2. Both houses and the governor need to get serious about mandate relief for our local governments and school districts (http://bit.ly/g8ZiCO).   Laws in New York that have long outlived their usefulness – and actually hampering growth –  must go.  The playing field for collective bargaining rights needs to be leveled to allow for meaningful conversations of what is fair, appropriate and affordable.
  3. The pension system in New York is broken and in desperate need of repair.  But quick and irresponsible fixes such as this (http://on.wsj.com/fXPxxo) aren’t the solution.  We need to create a Tier 6 Retirement System for future workers and find rational ways to ease the impending disaster that the current system will have on our taxes.

It is time for our elected officials to deliver on their campaign promises, to keep their eye on the real issues. Our state is broke, our laws are broken, and our taxpayers are no longer willing to wait for relief.  To our elected officials we say, “Don’t get distracted by the soft issues or by the emotional pleas.  If you truly want us to be singing “Don’t Worry…Be Happy,” then give us a reason. It’s Time to Deliver on tax relief.”