Vic Furman exposes the reality of life in Upstate New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fracking decision condemning the region to perpetual decline.
The latest New York budget gimmick is a state initiated program encouraging towns and counties to come up with ideas for saving taxpayer money by sharing more services. Sounds good but is it? It’s nor readily apparent exactly how this fits into Andrew Cuomo’s plans to reduce taxes but, as I see it, these theoretical savings from sharing services are little more than groveling for scraps, the Governor having already sold us out at the behest of the Empire State’s aristocrats when he denied us the economic benefits of gas drilling. We’re left to being told to beg from each other.
Here is a video from WBNG Action News 12 out of Binghamton, New York that tells the story (I’m the guy in the red shirt):
Action 12, in my experience, never quite tells the whole story. Rather, they give the side they want us to hear. The shared services meeting was open to the public. Other then me and Stan Scobie, however, the only people who were there (nine in all) were the Broome County Executive and his staff, three town supervisors by my count and the media. This was a room equipped to hold 75 or more individuals. Where were the people?
As the only citizen with something to say, I did. I pointed out to County Executive Jason Garner that government was the 3rd largest employer with over 15,300 on the public payroll. I suggested maybe his multiple appearances on the Radio 1290 Bob Joseph Show during the week, to campaign, indicated he didn’t have enough to do and respectfully suggested he might not need all six assistants he has on the payroll.
I then went on to discuss Governor Cuomo’s plan to spend billions of state taxpayers’ dollars on bailing out a Chicago based nuclear energy company to the tune of $7.8 billion dollars costing taxpayers almost $200,000 a day for years to come. Can you imagine the tax reductions possible in our counties if that money went to them, or perhaps was just cut from the budget at the start?
I pointed out that, had Cuomo not stopped gas drilling in the state of New York, our county would be looking for ways to spend the ad valorem taxes each gas well would have paid into the county. We wouldn’t be groveling for pennies. Ad valorem taxes are taxes on well head production of natural gas and it has been suggested each well drilled could have contributed over $1.5 million over a 20 year period. Imagine if Brome County had just 400 wells. That would mean $2 million a year added onto our tax rolls, making Windsor. New York’s pipeline residential tax break of 6% look like chump change.
Here’s the conservation I then had with Jason Garner, the Broome County Executive:
GARNER: “Vic, I am the County Executive and I am aware of how many county workers are on the payroll…about 2,200.”
ME: “Jason, before I came to this meeting and made the statement of 15,300 people I looked it up on the county website… and it is 15,300.
GARNER: “Well, yeah, but that includes teachers…”
This is the politics of today. The lack of citizens at this meeting shows the lack of heart the community has for itself, The discouragement of being economically ignored by Governor Cuomo has taken a big toll on the life long residents of Broome County. We are at the point in history where our elected leaders follow Cuomo blindly into the cow drops of complicity by condemning our community to a crime ridden, drug infested, hopeless, jobless stain on the earth that is losing population to greener pastures in other states.
I blame the yes men who wear the suits of lawmakers continue to let Cuomo get away with this travesty; the theft of our best economic opportunity. These spineless politicians were afraid to stand up to Governor Cuomo, not realizing that doing so would have made them more re-electable, not less. Instead, they decided to play it safe. They, like Cuomo, let the Park Foundation and the Rockefeller family have their way with Upstate New York.
I also blame the supposed “Mountainkeeper,” a Rockefeller enterprise, the riverkeepers and other groups financed by these aristocrats, plus groups such as New York Residents Against Drilling, for putting our region into the spiral decline it is in now. They’re snake oil salesman, liars and authors of fake peer-reviewed studies. They’ve stolen our inheritance and now here we are groveling for pennies, nickels and dimes supposedly to be obtained by sharing services when what we ought to be doing is hearing in the wealth denied to us by Cuomo and the feckless politicians who live in fear of him and his masters, those New York aristocrats who want Upstate New York for themselves.