THREE PEOPLE WERE WORKING IN ALBANY TODAY!…and all of them were meeting with Omnibus Consortium members….
The three working public servants were:
Bob Megna, Director of the Budget for the Gov.
Valerie Grey, First Dep. Sec’y.
Eric Eichenlaub, Counsel to the Gov.
Good people=good meeting…
They were obviously smart, willing, sincere, and trying hard to enlist our support for the Gov.’s entire agenda which has items we consider unnecessary baggage preventing prop. tax relief from saving people’s homes quickly.
We-of course-are smart, willing, sincere, and trying hard to enlist the Gov.’s support for Prop. tax relief and reform….free and clear of divisive issues like caps and mandates and spending controls (worthy as some of them may be)that slow down the help people need immediately to stay in their family homes.
First you send the buses and helicopters to rescue the people stranded on their roofs escaping the flood waters; then you discuss insurance for low lying homes.
If you’re following the narrative, you know we were supposed to meet with Larry Schwartz, the Gov.’s chief advisor today, Tues. June 30 .
Due to the fact that everyone is currently trying to make the State Senators sit down and stop wandering around the capitol waiting for a lady in leather with a whip and chains to call them to order, Larry missed the meeting.
I am assuming he was with his boss, Gov. Paterson, rounding up the stray Senate livestock and trying to herd them into their pen…the Senate chamber.
The people are losing patience with all these free range creatures and we hope (really it was rumored) the Comptroller is considering rationing their feed…..he can do that you know.
However the other Gov.’s advisors –named above and scheduled to meet with us- were present and ready to talk business.
It would be a more cathartic story if I disliked them intensely -as I have disliked some soulless Albany apparatchiks who will remain nameless –unless they get in the way of tax reform…AGAIN!
BUT, I really rather liked these public servants -and enjoyed the exchange. I even got the sense they’d rather be on the side of the angels-us- than fronting the idea there wasn’t any money in the budget for the circuit breaker.
That’s a very weak position given that Albany has had twenty years or so to find the money-and a lot of the legislators (et al) who can’t find the money have been up there almost that entire time.
Remember the rules from yesterday and you’ll know what relief looks like….THE Omnibus CIRCUIT BREAKER…
We sang the whole “advocate aria” :
I’m really at the end of my patience with explaining for six years to assorted politicians what the word ‘emergency’ means…… AGAIN!
Opening lyrics as usual- in abbreviated form…
We: Find it!
We: Circuit breaker!
They: Spending cuts??
We: Emergency circuit breaker first!!
After the pas de nine, we got down to a real discussion….
The reason I liked these folks is that they didn’t pull out any silly objections to circuit breakers or deny the crisis in prop. taxes.
Circuit breakers are universally acknowledged to be the best form of relief.
The problem with the gov.’s approach is the insistence on bundling immediately needed circuit breaker relief with controversial or complicated attempts to cut spending long term. That means NOTHING gets out of the pipeline to help middle class families who need emergency prop. tax relief…yesterday.
Foreclosures are up everywhere….Jobs are lost every day ….real estate values are dropping precipitously and people can’t sell their homes even if they want to….disaster ……despair…..loss of hope….and, of course, absolutely no respect for the politicians in Albany
who do nothing to meet the pressing human emergency while pursuing institutional ends.
“The state cannot afford …The state needs….The state has many claims on IT’S money”…
……is a feeble excuse for delaying property tax relief when compared to:
“The people need…the people cannot afford confiscatory property taxes…the people have many other claims on THEIR money like food, clothing and shelter…
We must convince Governor Paterson that even legitimate demands on the state coffers (taxpayer money) defy comparison with unrelieved property taxes that are so unfair, so exorbitant and so out-of control that the bulk of the middle class is unprotected from eventual homelessness.
As Robert McKeon (TREND)has said: our state income taxes already have a circuit breaker….a percent that you know your taxes will not exceed.
There is no comparable mechanism at present to prevent property taxes from consuming 100% of a person’s income.
That’s why we need a circuit breaker for property taxes….before we sit down calmly and consider how to streamline spending by various public entities.
The good part of the meeting is that the three Representatives of the Governor listened; had obviously given the circuit breaker a lot of time and thought; appeared to understand the pain caused by property taxes; were willing to talk for a very long time; conveyed a willingness to learn and be convinced; sincerely shared their needs in shaping relief; were able advocates for the Governor; were not robotic in their responses; and displayed civility and a desire to continue the exchange of ideas and information.
There wasn’t any bad part.