Archive for May 2023

As Usual, Left Gets It Wrong on N.Y. Exodus – By George J. Marlin

May 22, 2023

This article I wrote appeared on the web site on Monday, May 22, 2023.

New York State’s Disastrous Budget – By George J. Marlin

May 17, 2023

The following appeared on Monday, May 15, 2023, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website,

During Albany’s annual budget battle, a take-charge governor can exercise extraordinary power over the process.

In 2010, for example, when Gov. David Paterson and the state Legislature could not agree on a spending plan by the end of the fiscal year, the governor threatened to use the “nuclear option”— a short-term spending extension (aka a continuing resolution) to secure a balanced budget.

What is the “nuclear option”?

Here’s Gov. Paterson’s explanation: “The difference between the budget process and the extenders is that the governor writes the extenders, the legislature has to vote it up or down, there are no amendments, no changes, no rejections, or overriding the governor’s veto. It’s either take it or leave it…. We then put our cuts in the next week’s budget extender and the legislature either had to vote it into effect or shut down the government.”

The threat worked and the Legislature backed off and negotiated a budget to the governor’s satisfaction.

Patterson did not fear to use what then Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called “naked political power” to impose his will on the Legislature.

Unfortunately, this year Gov. Kathy Hochul, fearful of exercising her budgetary authority, was steamrolled by the state Legislature.

In February, the governor, ignoring the signs of economic slowdown — particularly on Wall Street, which provides 22% of state income tax revenue—proposed a record-breaking $227 billion budget, up $7 billion from the previous year.

The release of the governor’s budget is only the opening gambit. The legislative branch, which has an insatiable appetite, always counters with even more spending.

Unable to agree on a budget plan, the state missed the March 31 deadline.

Refusing to use the “nuclear option” the governor surrendered in late April and agreed to a $229.8 billion budget, up $9 billion.

While the 3.7% increase may appear low — keep in mind this is on top of increases that totaled 22% over the past three years.

Most of the additional spending was allotted to school aid and Medicaid.

Education spending will hit an all-time high of $34 billion.

“School aid,” the Empire Center for Public Policy has reported will have “risen 76% since 2012 — while public school enrollment has fallen more than 5% during the same period.

Put another way, the state will be spending about $9 billion more on a smaller number of students than it would have if school aid had simply kept pace with inflation. Meanwhile, student achievement is declining on both state and national measures.”

As for Medicaid, the governor, who called for the state spending portion to increase by 9%, capitulated to the demands of the Legislature and healthcare unions and agreed to a 13% increase, up $4.2 billion.

“The state’s share,” healthcare expert Bill Hammond has noted, “is on track to be 53% higher in 2024 than it was in 2019.”

Total Medicaid spending for the fiscal year, which includes federal, state and local municipal contributions, is expected to top $100 billion.

New York, with 19.6 million people, will spend significantly more per capita on Medicaid than Florida (pop. 22.21 million) or Texas (pop. 30 million).

What did the governor get in return for knuckling under to the Legislature’s spending demands? Not much. Minor changes in the disastrous Progressive bail reforms.

New York’s spending trajectory is not sustainable.

The state’s budget division is already projecting major shortfalls in the out years; $5 billion in 2025, and in 2026, more than $8 billion.

Those dismal numbers do not, however, factor in an economic recession that will adversely affect tax revenue collections.

The governor, who holds a royal flush in the budgeting poker game, folded to the Legislature’s pair of deuces.

Hochul has proven to be a weak chief executive. And while that’s good news for legislators, unions, big government leeches, radical enviros, and various vendors—it does not bode well for overburdened taxpayers who get stuck paying the bills.

To Keep His Job, Biden Will Gladly March with Radical Dems – By George J. Marlin

May 5, 2023

This article I wrote appeared on the web site on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Issues That Cannot Be Ignored – By George J. Marlin

May 2, 2023

The following appeared on Monday, May 1, 2023, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website,

Public opinion polls have been indicating that the most important issues for New Yorkers are crime and migrant asylum-seeking.

Those concerns, however, do not appear to be hitting the radar screen of leftist legislators who represent us in Albany and Washington.

Democratic legislators in the State capital, for instance, have been ignoring the fact that major crimes increased in New York City last year by 22%.

Unable to bring themselves to admit that their so-called penal reforms have contributed to the surge in crime, they ignore the cries of victims to substantively adjust the bail laws. (The minor changes in the state’s budget deal are not expected to have any meaningful public safety impact.)

Here are a few cases of ideological denseness that prove my thesis:

On April 18, a 20-year-old was shot in the head outside the Bronx office of Assembly speaker Carl Heastie.

Later that same day, a Bronx policewoman was hit in the head with a glass bottle and subsequently rushed to a hospital.

Film footage revealed that the officer’s assailant, a 45-year-old with a very long list of arrests, quietly walked up to her and smashed her. “God told him to do this,” he later told police investigators.

What was Speaker Heastie’s reaction to these two incidents in his political backyard? “We must stop focusing on the symptoms of crime and treat the disease,” he said.


I’m guessing he means the disease is guns on the streets. But a bottle is not a gun.

Heastie is so wrapped up in his ideological fantasies, that he cannot grasp that the 2019 lenient penal reforms he supported have emboldened criminals.

For example, 327 shoplifters were “arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times” in the city last year, The New York Times reported.

Why are these shoplifters so brazen? Because they know they will suffer no consequences for their criminal activities and will be back out on the streets hours after they are arrested.

Heastie’s constituents don’t agree with his soft-on-crime policies. A New York Post poll of his Assembly District revealed that 57% of voters want the penal reforms revised.

A 55-year-old constituent told the Post, “It was bad in the ’80s. I feel like it’s creeping back to that era. If a person is accused of a friggin’ violent crime, they are supposed to go on bail or be denied bail depending on the severity of the crime. I don’t support the way it is now. This is bigger than Heastie.”

Then there is the recent outburst of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after the announcement of a tentative contract agreement between Mayor Eric Adams and the Police Benevolent Association.

Without a contract since 2017, city cops have not had a raise in seven years.

And the longtime starting pay of $42,000 for NYPD officers fresh out of the academy has been the lowest in the region.

The eight-year agreement, if approved by the PBA membership, would start rookies at a competitive $55,000 annually.  It also includes retroactive pay and raises of 3.5% this year and 4% in 2024.

The new pay scale for cops was too much for AOC, a leading “defund the police” advocate.

She blasted the mayor: “We are now at a point where officially most officers are paid more than a teacher with a master’s degree serving the same kids involved in the same incidents.”

AOC’s claim is blatantly false.

Teachers with a bachelor’s degree earn $61,000 their first year in city schools. The starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $68,000.

The congresswoman went on to complain that the mayor is “defunding our public schools, defunding our public pools, defunding our parks [and] defunding our libraries” to fund the police department.

That statement is also false.

If there are any cuts in government services, it will be due to the growing costs of the migrant crisis—which the mayor has said is “destroying the city.”

“The national government,” Adams said, “has turned its back on New York City…. Every service in the city is going to be impacted by the asylum crisis.”

Yes, AOC, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Jeffries, as well as Democratic leaders in Albany, have been out to lunch on this problem.

And if these Progressive pols do not come to their senses and tackle the migrant and crime issues, New York will become what it was in the 1970s—ungovernable.