End the property tax nightmare!

September 21, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:13 pm

Breaking newsU

Gov. Cuomo announced that if you live in a town that had a really BAD IRENE, and your house is a disaster area, and you are probably broke, busted and disgusted you can…

        DELAY paying your ruinous school tax bill??

OH JOY! oh frabjous day kaloo kalay…

         be still my Y!

So if you ever get your life back together and the water pumped out of your basement, you will have that wonderful property tax bill waiting for you.

Of course, if the Gov. and company hadn’t given about 19 billion in handouts to the filthy rich and corporations, maybe your school taxes would have been drastically cut by now…( okay so I’m not very forgiving) but Albany will have a DO-OVER this session…There are a lot of good guys in Albany (REALLY)…we’ll be talking to them.

Speaking of good guys:

A memo from fellow Omnibuster (Omnibus consortium member) John Whiteley has some good news on movement to fund vital services like Medicaid and education out of state coffers (income taxes, fees etc) and not from chaotic exorbitant property taxes on your home.

Colleagues –


    Some of you may have seen Liz Benjamin’s “Capitol Tonight” last night, which highlighted a new bi -partisan bill that would basically shift all county Medicaid costs to the state over an eight year period. (It is also written up in the Times-Union.)


      Sponsors are Republicans Roy McDonald and Patrick Gallivan in the Senate and Democrat  Amy Paulin in the Assembly.  All three were interviewed on Liz’s show (which should be retrievable on the show’s website There was also a press conference yesterday to plug the bill.  The sponsors indicated the idea has considerable support among their colleagues, and that they have had positive discussions with the Governor on the issue.  


      The bill has not yet been formally introduced, but is expected to be soon.  The stated intention is to move on it quickly now to build momentum for discussion and passage in the next session.


       The sponsors framed the bill in the context of mandate relief needed to make the tax cap work, and even Amy Poulin (who stressed she did not support the tax cap) did not dispute the connection.  What struck me, however, is that, perhaps for the first time in recent years, at least some legislators in both parties and both chambers seem to recognize that the discussion of how we should fund services in this state has become at least equally as important as (and fundamentally distinct from) the debate over how much we should spend — a point I have been trying to make with respect to the need for school funding reform.  As McDonald put it bluntly, (in paraphrase), “People just cannot pay more in property tax.” 


May I suggest, people should be paying a whole lot less…let alone MORE.


We in the reform movement have spent the last two years lobbying and working for our Omnibus solution.

This solution to the property tax crisis includes two parts:

     RELIEF in the form of a circuit breaker by which the state refunds a major part of your total property tax payment (-school, county, local ) which exceeds a certain percent of your income.


    REFORM in the form of a gradual shift of Medicaid and education funding from property taxes to the state.

The proposed (McDonald, Gallivan, Paulin) legislation would shift the Medicaid portion away from your county prop. tax bill- a start on the Omnibus solution.


Last year we worked with Sen. Bonacic and ZEE to craft an excellent Circuit Breaker protecting families making up to 250,000 by funding relief through the millionaire’s tax and dedicating a large portion towards the CB. This session we will fight for passage.

Now we see the message of our Reform portion of the Omnibus Solution embodied in this proposed legislation.

We congratulate these legislators for understanding the problem of overburdened taxpayers and overloaded property taxes.

They are –simply put- suggesting a shift from your property taxes to state funding -which we think is the solution-the perfect solution by the way -for which we all owe Frank Mauro –Fiscal Policy Institute and Omnibus co-founder -a debt of gratitude we can never repay.



September 17, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:21 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:18 pm

Stupid and stupider…cheating on tests, Murdoch takes the stage in education…and your property taxes… a toxic stew…

These are some items you might want to think about as you read about life in the stupid lane.

We waste many millions on “high stakes” standardized tests…which are stupid to start with and mostly only result in jobs for former school administrators leaping into the private sector for big bucks in “educational” companies.

NOW the muckety-mucks-in the “educational” establishment have discovered massive cheating on scoring these tests. DUH!

Geez, who woulda thought?

SO government is preparing to spend MANY MORE millions to score the useless tests creating expensive “anti-cheating protocols” and wasting public monies.  Can you believe this crap? Sure you can.

Next of course will be many millions to protect the protocols, probably contracted out to consultants AKA vendors AKA “educators” (these are not to be confused with teachers who actually work with actual (I know it’s redundant…dammit!) not virtual children) who will create “fool proof” standardized anti-cheating systems aka metrics, that a ten year old hacker will breach during recess one day.

These systems will purport to protect the validity of the stupid tests that by definition as “standardized” are per se invalid, but which are replacing teaching in our schools.

…and they will be used to create Fellini-esque metrics and formulae to rate teachers and, oh yes, the littlest victims,our  children.

Thus government has created another mess like the property tax system with all its formulae and adjustments and exemptions and ratios and percentages and metrics and wavers that are formulated in some university education department or government panel so fusty, unreal, and archaic that one has to use radio- carbon dating to unearth their origins. 

Here go the muckety-mucks- again futzing around with MANY MANY millions in public funds to fix a chaotic unsupportable mess of a useless construct that should have been scrapped long ago.

Standardized testing and property taxes are in this category (…and victimizing many people).

In the case of property taxes Albany gave up trying to fix them and just recently put a stupid cap on hoping it wouldn’t smell so bad. Good luck with that disaster, gents.

Try to fix an absurd system and it just gets more absurd-Gioia’s first law.

Let’s cut to the chase kids: Your property taxes pay for a lot of standardized test scoring; NYS alone pays 20 million a year. Garbage. Tell me now, wouldn’t you rather your kids had a great learning environment instead of a stupid, sweaty “high stakes test”… every 12 minutes?

Not to mention cutting property taxes and using them better?

 Not only do standardized tests treat children like a glutinous mass of standardized widgets- the testing and scoring is very often effed up.

When the scoring goes bad-as it did one year on the SAT tests resulting in many shaken up young people tragically losing their seats at their preferred schools- the muckety- mucks say, “OOPS”.

Nothing ever happens to the education companies and edu-pimps who are syphoning tons of loot out of the system and crippling our learning environments when they fail-as they usually do – to produce anything resembling useful results.

…Biggest racket since rewarding the Wall Street recession makers with mountains of bonuses.

As an example…Right up there in the stupid realm (with some insider educ. trading thrown in) -Joel Klein made the usual jump from muckety- muck superintendent in NYC to private edu-scam industry. He was headed for a big contract with NYS in his new job as a hireling for a Murdoch (yep that one) educ. Company.

After Murdoch and the horse he rode in got kicked into the unsavory spotlight for a bunch of questionable if not illegal practices on the part of his news empire…and after a big stink was made by good government groups, Controller Di Napoli nixed the (no-bid) contract.

Oh and Yeah…while your property taxes go up big time to support this garbage (either directly or covertly), the big earning, often violent, video game industry is getting big tax breaks from government… because the muckety-mucks confabulated what video game makers do with educational internet innovation. Did money change hands? Ya think?

Parents and tax reformers have to protect our children from these  testing assaults from state government and “educational”vendors.

…and while the state is hiring vendors, and educ. consultants with PhDs in soliciting “no bid” contracts, they are cutting their state aid to education. Guess who’ll pay the tab?

You, of course. In property taxes.


 Breaking news…Some  SAT scores are lower than they have been in years. The educ. test vendors are blaming this on Latinos and African Americans coming into the college pool! L

This whole testing thing has gone from expensive and useless, a hindrance to real learning, to being a cultural disaster of major proportions …I am really starting to get angry…very very angry.

Standardized testing has turned into an excuse for bias, ignorance, and greed – another example of the “Mismeasure of Man”.

C’mon President Obama, I support you in every area but junk legislation like No Child Left Behind (left behind from the Bush years).

Standardized test taking is a very limited skill which only measures standardized test taking and has little application in the real world. Please don’t foist this junk on every child in the nation.

Only one correlation ever found in a reputable study involving one single trait and success in later life wasn’t skill in standardized test taking- not by a long shot .

The correlation was between success in life and one predictive trait…charm…yep, that’s a cold, hard fact.

I’m sure it would be a lot more beneficial and certainly cheaper to send our kids to charm school once a week and deep six the tests.







September 13, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:50 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:48 pm

AS THE FILTHY RICH (excluding the good guys like Buffet and his boys) GO SAILING OFF IN THEIR YACHTS… to count their pelf in their tax havensor to troll for cheap labor in faraway slums… The middle class is going down for the third time.

I refuse to even engage with the henchmen of the corporate and financial robber barons who are fighting against tax reform…they can go debate their ash cans (and they have the nerve to charge admission to their theater of the absurd panels!).

They skeeve me out with their plummy voiced fiscal solecisms and their Alice in Wonderland stats.

What really frosts me off is that YOUR property tax bills would have been reasonable by now if we hadn’t had to fight the hired hands of the outsourcing, non- tax paying, unpatriotic corporations who do not want to be taxed…at all… ever…even to benefit the country which made them rich.

Why believe me?

Simple-because no one pays tax reformers like us, millions-or even tens- to do what we do or say what we say.

I and the other grass roots tax reformers like the Whiteleys and Bill Hecht and Carole Kraus and the Trumpbours and Robert McKeon and Taxnightmare leaders like Barb Sides and Bru Calderone and Tara and Leonie and Bruce and Sam and Yvonne and Marlis and Lydia and Paul and Caroline and Chas and Lenn and Linda and Larry and other leaders  around the state are working pro bono ( that means free and no thanks Koch bros.-not that they’d offer J).- to rescue our middle class families from the jaws of the people who are sitting on top of the biggest pile of loot ever acquired by a handful of “ALL MINE AND THE HELL WITH YOU” pirates  ever assembled in one country… The Somali pirates could learn some tricks from SOME (not all) of the big banks.

You know something dire has to be happening in Albany to turn this normally placid (sometimes), civilized (mostly) old broad into a raging fury… PAY TO PLAY on a giant scale is what’s happening!

Loaded with corporate money Lobbyists -so oleaginous they’d clog your arteries if you ever shook hands with them- are roaming the halls of Albany and getting immediate access to your legislators and your governor-access that you don’t have.

The lobbyists have:

…access to get tax breaks for the bucksters

… access to get a fast track for fracking industries – (but only if they promise –“cross your heart, gas industry” -that they will be really, really careful and not turn your town into a toxic dump…on their scout’s honor)  

…access to kill property tax reform and keep you paying their share for services like education and medicaid

…access to get tax exemptions and handouts for the gated “religious” separatist communities of the holier than thou “what me pay taxes!?…I’m god’s advance man” category…

… access to get government help to bust unions and starve vital services ( the ones the rich don’t use -like public schools).

…and more

You see why my fangs are showing?

Them what has” keep getting more$$$ from our “public servants” and the public coffers…and the devil take the well-being of what’s left of the middle class…and the country we love.

NO NO NO… That’s not okay.

September 8, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:39 am


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:38 am

Make note of this excerpt from




Can the Middle Class Be Saved?


…“Over time, the United States has expected less and less of its elite, even as society has oriented itself in a way that is most likely to maximize their income. The top income-tax rate was 91 percent in 1960, 70 percent in 1980, 50 percent in 1986, and 39.6 percent in 2000, and is now 35 percent. Income from investments is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. The estate tax has been gutted.

High earners should pay considerably more in taxes than they do now. Top tax rates of even 50 percent for incomes in the seven-figure range would still be considerably lower than their level throughout the boom years of the post-war era, and should not be out of the question—nor should an estate-tax rate of similar size, for large estates.”


…here’s just one example of saving the middle class by equitable taxation…

If our governor and legislators –even in their much less than infinite wisdom MUCH MUCH LESS- had given a single thought to their responsibility to us…the people of the state-they would have stopped rebating 14 billion in stock transfer taxes to Wall St. (a fraction of a penny a share that no one bitched about when it was being collected and probably don’t even know is being rebated) and would have made much better use of the money…they could have used it to make life better in NYS….FOR EXAMPLE: They could have…

·        Repaired our crumbling infra-structure -roads and bridges and such- so they would have held up better in the hurricane that slammed us so hard

·        Stocked emergency equipment like generators and pumps for public use

·        Had the money to hire all those newly unemployed willing hands to repair the devastation

·        Planned ahead to use our considerable technology and all our resources to make these natural events less catastrophic

·        Been ready with materials and men to immediately fix damage to homes and help people build or re-locate while they waited to be reimbursed by their insurance companies

We are sometimes so gullible and passive  as a people-and have been so suckered into lowering our expectations of what is due us as citizens that it never occurs to us that we are being screwed by elected officials.  

Albany routinely passes along public funds to private pockets and then the same  officials (who found 5 billion to give in tax breaks to the mega wealthy) pompously zip around the state showing themselves off and bringing very little or nothing to the table.

They “feel our pain” (like hell they do) and then go back to Albany to dine with 2500 a plate campaign donors leaving us high and—DRENCHED.

It’s NOT okay. The effects of this storm are not an act of god… we had plenty of warning! The catastrophic effects are the result of negligence, inaction, lack of foresight, lousy priorities, and a “pay to play” mentality on the part of elected officials…and you can bet that a lot of the reconstruction and repair of public services will be shifted onto the property tax.  It’s a scam. Get angry…get very, very angry.



September 1, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:16 pm


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