Since Gov. Cuomo has been in charge, 194,000 people have moved out of the 50 counties north of us. Even though we are being told that unemployment upstate has dropped, it is NOT because more people are finding work; it is because they have stopped looking for work, according to studies. So, as on the national level, they are not counted. The governor has touted that the real truth is unemployment in New York has been cut in half and private sector jobs are at an all-time high. The truth is that these so-called record job levels are confined to New York City and its surrounding suburbs.
Part of the upstate exodus is by political design. Gov. Cuomo won his primary and general election by carrying both New York City and its suburbs (except for Putnam). He lost nearly all counties north of us. However, as that population has dwindled, there were not enough votes to offset downstate. So, the model that George Pataki used to defeat the governor’s father is now obsolete. As this governor has shown, to win a statewide election, you can write off 95 percent of the state as long as you carry downstate by 60 percent.
• According to a story in the New York Torch: “New York State’s unfunded liability for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) grew to $87.3 billion in fiscal 2017, a $9.4 billion increase over the previous year…The state government accounts for $72.83 billion of the total all by itself. The State University of New York (SUNY) accounts for the remaining total.”
All this comes out of our pocket.
Where is that money going? New York government retirees, at almost every level in New York, are entitled to continuing healthcare coverage at a heavily discounted rate, or even for free. Try finding that at the private level. The reality is: Current taxpayers must lay out cash to cover the cost of a health benefit earned in the past by current retirees. Fact is: By 2019, it is calculated New York will be in a state of what is called in accounting parlance, “balance sheet insolvency.” What this means is that the total amount owed by the state government will exceed the value of all that it is owed plus the value of its assets. Most New York counties, cities and school districts, as well as larger towns, will find themselves in the same category by then, also.
To show you the power of public sector unions, public employee unions have blocked the last several New York governors, including Cuomo, from attempting to restructure retiree benefits. The dirty little secret is that retiree health coverage, unlike the pension obligations, can be broken without violating the constitution or defaulting on a legal obligation. All it takes is the will to do so.
• So where else are your tax dollars going? Well, one place was the notorious Empire Zones program. This was the governor’s program that was supposed to attract new businesses to depressed areas and create new jobs. In the name of creating jobs, New York State spent more than $190 million to subsidize two old, pollution-spewing coal plants near Buffalo. The money was paid out over 13 years. However, both plants closed, laying off 136 people in 2016.
The Huntley and Dunkirk power plants were among the biggest beneficiaries of New York’s notorious Empire Zones program. A third plant, owned by the Oswego Harbor Power plant in Oswego, collected millions in Empire Zone tax breaks. To be fair, the Oswego plant has not been closed, however, it rarely runs.
Remember, this program was meant to fund new businesses. Yet these power plants were allowed to claim millions of dollars. They were not new and created few, if any, new jobs. By the time its last tax credit is claimed, Empire Zones are going to cost state taxpayers at least $3 billion with negligible results.
We are told that the governor has at least $26 million in his re-election war chest. Who are these idiots and why are they giving him money?
This is what I say. What say you?