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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guest Column: NY Status Quo

Today we're running a guest column from Michael Alan, a freshman in Cornell's school of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). Michael is a contributor to the Cornell Review, and hails from Lewisburg, PA.

The Albany Times-Union reported last week that the records from NY Governor David Paterson’s nearly three year stint in office would be housed at Cornell University, bypassing the New York State Archives thanks to Paterson’s veto of a bill that would have required him and subsequent governors to keep their records in Albany for the public to examine.

Paterson’s records will make their way to Ithaca along with a $250,000 grant to the University, whereas State Archivist Christine Ward said the documents could have been held at the State Archives “at no additional cost to the taxpayer.” Why house the records in Ithaca, then? The Governor is negotiating a deal with Cornell to keep his records from being released to the public for as long as twenty years, something neither the State Archivist nor advocates of transparency on both sides of the aisle are happy about.

So, with Governor Paterson being so secretive about his time in office and Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s January 1st inauguration only a few short days away, it seems like a good time to look back on Paterson’s tenure and try to figure out what Paterson may be trying to hide from the public and why New Yorkers, even in this past November’s wave election that had six House seats from NY flip to the GOP, continue to send corrupt Democrats to Albany year after year:
  • The week he was sworn in as Governor and immediately following the revelations about Governor Eliot “Client #9” Spitzer, Paterson admitted to illegally using campaign funds as Minority Leader of the State Senate for rendezvous with his mistress at a Manhattan Days Inn.
  • In October of last year, Paterson attended the opening game of the World Series using tickets he did not pay for. On Monday, the State Commission on Public Integrity fined Paterson $62,125 for taking the tickets and concluded that the Governor lied under oath when he claimed he intended to pay for them.
  • In January of this year, Paterson awarded a state contract to develop the Aqueduct horse race track in Queens to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, whose ownership includes a former Congressman whose political support Paterson was courting when he was still considering running for a full term as Governor, close Paterson ally and rapper Jay-Z, and convicted felon Darryl Green, who plead guilty in 1999 to charges that he stole $500,000 in government funds appropriated to affirmative action hiring.

Professor Jacobson praised Paterson in 2009 when the Governor said that a “tax the rich” approach to fiscal policy wasn’t good for New York State. Since then, however, Paterson has governed using a “tax everyone” approach. In addition to Paterson’s income tax increase in 2009, the Governor has signed into law new taxes on everything from cigarettes to utilities. Ironically, Paterson has simultaneously proposed an 18% “obesity tax” on soda and energy drinks and a 4% on “personal services” that include weight loss clubs and gyms.

All of this makes me wonder why a Democrat who served in Albany beside Governor Paterson was handed such an easy thirty point victory in November. Was it because of, as the media suggests, the popularity of the Cuomo family name and Carl Paladino’s many gaffes in dealing with the media? Or have New Yorkers simply become so used to the Democratic stranglehold on power in their state that they don’t bother questioning it anymore? I’m not so cynical as to suggest that Cuomo will be met with the same lack of accountability Paterson received from his constituents, but the fact that New Yorkers elected another Democrat by such a large margin after suffering through four years of Spitzer/Paterson doesn’t give me much hope.

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  1. ..."but the fact that New Yorkers elected another Democrat by such a large margin after suffering through four years of Spitzer/Paterson doesn’t give me much hope."

    That's the 'money line', professor, and it would be easy to simply replace Spitzer/Paterson with any other entrenched democrat name/tandem. Its been one-party rule in New York State for a long time...seems to me that high taxes, poor business climate and infrastructure decay follows this democrat trend no matter where it is seen. Indeed, the citizens of New York State, of which I am one, see little hope in the near future.

  2. A great many New Yorkers will not vote for a Republican no matter what. They are so indoctrinated that they are unable to connect their fiscal woes to Democrat policies. To make matters worse, when they flee the state, they take their Democrat "ideals" and votes with them like a virus.

  3. What do you expect. It's long been the Dems goal to perpetuate their complete and total control over the state. If you add up the number of people dependent on the state (with dozens of different payrolls employing about 1.5 million people)and the people on state funded pensions, state funded welfare, people receiving state benefits for their kids education, free rides to schools, hospitals and shopping, at least 50% of the population get far more from the state than they pay in.

    With the NY City council on the verge of letting aliens vote, it should be easy as pie for the democrats to stay in power permanently, and extract the money they need to pay for all this from businesses and 'rich' presumably republican citizens. Until they all wise up and move away, as I am getting ready to do....

  4. Thank you, that was an impressive guest column.

    Watching the goings-on in some of these other states while I sit relatively safe in Oklahoma is kind of like watching a car accident in slow motion. I even have the same horror-filled expression on my face that I would have while witnessing some terrible wreck. Try as I might, I find I cannot look away.

    They'll drive NY into the ground before they stop. My fear is that they'll simply turn to the feds to have us bail them out to maintain the status-quo for their unions.

  5. For a blind guy he can see pretty well where the damning documents are.

  6. When ever you wonder about Americans who vote Democrat keep in mind the name Alvin Greene, the SC Democrat who got 59 % of the Democrat primary vote without any campaigning. Spent less than $5000 in the General campaign and got 29% of the voters cast by South Carolina voters in the General Election.

  7. There is another Paterson excess. He tried to influence/strong-arm a woman
    not to testify who had claimed harassment by his top aide. The Empire State has become a laughable example of corruption and governmental excess.
    No wonder since 1960, it has lost 17 electoral votes. Now it has elected Prince Andrew, the enforcer. The carnival continues.