Saturday, March 15, 2014


Not a favorite son.
photo provided.
New York State-- (March 15, 2014) I consider myself a good New York State Democrat. However, I will not be carrying NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo's petition for re-election this year. Here is why:
For starters, NYS residents witnessed a total of 93,000 public service jobs eliminated since 2010. Cuomo may have kept some "liberals" happy by passing stricter gun laws and signing off on marriage equality, but his downright mean spirited attack on the poor and middle class taxpayers can not be forgiven. While I admire the fact that NYS lawmakers seem to be getting the budget done on time these days, we have taken our eye off the ball and forgot to stick to our progressive fiscal policy agenda.
If budgets are moral documents, I question the Governor's humanity. He could care less about maintaining state revenue streams and preserving any resemblance of quality public services in our local communities across New York State. All you have to do is read his budget proposal.
On a more personal level, I took particular offense to the Governor slashing library aid. Thank you to the state legislature who will no doubt restore this necessary funding-- the irony here is that it is still 20M short with respect to mandated levels dictated by the NYS constitution and 2010 Census figures.
And, if you haven't taken the time to read between the budget line items of late, the end game here is that the 2014-15 Executive Budget proposal will be disproportionately harmful to your county, city, town, village, the middle class and working poor populations. Giving huge tax breaks to wealthy Wall Street CEO's is no way to balance a budget--- especially when NYS sports the biggest income inequality quotient in the nation. It's time we have a budget that serves the interests of everyone, don't ya think? This budget does not share the pain-- it hammers the most vulnerable in our communities.
At a time when homelessness and food insecurity is at an all-time high, while our infrastructure is crumbling around us, and our local governments are struggling to provide the necessary services residents require, New York State taxpayers should demand a budget that works for everybody. We should not be giving wealthy corporations, Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 families’ hundred million dollar tax breaks at the expense of everyone else. The lost revenue will devastate public services and our quality of life-- you wait and see. This is hardly the budget of a Democrat-- and to tell you the truth I really don't know where he falls on the political continuum.
And, last time we checked, when you tax income progressively, no one dies. This budget will no doubt dismantle our social safety nets-- people will suffer because of Governor Cuomo's Election Year budget "priorities." Mark my words.
On tops of this, a few days ago NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report that revealed Wall Street is currently enjoying a run of five straight profitable years, including the three best years on record. Furthermore, the average bonus paid to Wall Street employees grew by 15 percent to $164,530 in 2013. They are doing just fine, thank you very much. And they need another tax break? What ever happened to everyone paying their fair share?
And while Wall Street is profiting like never before, many of our communities are struggling big time. No functioning economy can prosper without a strong middle class-- folks with real spending power. Rather than protecting public services everyone uses, Governor Cuomo has proposed a budget that would eliminate the dedicated Bank Tax and raise the roof on the "death" or Estate Inheritance Tax-- not to mention how the property tax cap is killing public school districts and local governments. These tax breaks, designed for just a minority of wealthy families, would create another windfall for the banking institutions and the same folks who were absolutely responsible for bringing us the last Great Recession money-grab in 2008. Our state should be laser-focused on improving childhood education outcomes, reducing inequality in all its forms, creating jobs and providing economic opportunity for all instead of giving huge tax breaks to Wall Street banks. Where is our sense of balance and proportion? Am I the crazy one here?
So, now you know why I'm not supporting Governor Cuomo for re-election. If I sound a little angry, well that's because I am. I have seen first hand how these past few years have affected my community. We can do better-- much better. I long for the day New York State elects a true progressive Democrat. Gov. Cuomo can carry his own damn petitions in my neighborhood. I will not.
-Ove Overmyer

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