Last Friday,  E.J McMahon wrote a piece titled “Union’s flood remedy:higher taxes on what’s still standing.” Please read the excerpt below:

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and its lobbying partner, the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), are holding news conferences around the state to complain about this year’s school aid cuts and about the state’s newly enacted local property tax cap.  Yesterday’s NYSUT-AQE event in Albany featured an odd new twist on one of the groups’ favorite anti-cap arguments.

Today’s Albany Times Union offers this partial paraphrase of remarks by Martin Messner, president of the teachers’ union in the Schoharie School District, which was hit especially hard by Hurricane Irene:

Messner, who said he had to write down his words because he was exhausted from all the cleanup work after Tropical Storm Irene heavily damaged Schoharie, called the tax cap “mean-spirited” and said it will worsen the school budget season dramatically. He challenged any politician who supported the cap to come to Schoharie to see the destruction of virtually every business in town and more than 100 homes to see how many tax dollars would be gone.

Now, it would be one thing to suggest that school districts in flood-ravaged areas need some emergency state aid to compensate for the unprecedented and unforeseeable destruction of a large portion of their tax bases.  But Messner also seems to be arguing here that, to compensate for losses due to the severe flooding, the state should make it easier for Schoharie and other affected school districts to raise property taxes on businesses and homes unscathed by Irene.

Read the full piece by E.J here: http://www.nytorch.com/?p=4630

The flooded areas of New York do need the Governments help. What the Government can, and should, do to facilitate the rebuilding is to:

  • Eliminate any Project Labor Agreement (PLA) or Prevailing Wage requirements, which also drive up construction cost;
  • Advance to the Governor for his signature a bill by Sen. Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Heastie which calls for the obtaining best value for contracts for public work and purchase contracts;
  • Allow for alternative project delivery, specifically design build, which yields a greater return on investment than traditional design bid build.

And shame on those that do nothing but complain and put their hand out for more while doing nothing to make the situation better.