The Beat Down Goes On

The lead story this past week that all New Yorkers should be paying attention to was “Audits Find Widespread Waste in Spending by State Government” by Nicholas Confessore, published Thursday in The New York Times. Confessore reported the preliminary results of audits of state government that Andrew Cuomo called for upon taking office January 1 as New York’s 56th governor. In essence the audits discovered why New York State has been running in the red since Henry Hudson discovered the Hudson River. Okay. Sorry. Maybe only since Nelson Rockefeller took office in 1959.

The bottom line is that when it’s somebody else’s money and nobody is paying attention, people will spend it like it doesn’t matter whether what they’re buying is needed, a good price or even that it works. This is not a knock on state workers in general. It’s HUMAN NATURE that is the problem. It’s why we have RULES and LAWS, except for the past 50 years, the rules governing what you and I can do as private citizens have multiplied by a factor of ten while any rules about what politicians and the executive branches of government could do with our tax dollars were ignored.

Gov. Cuomo’s solution is one that promises to reduce the problem of waste and corruption by centralizing the purchasing authority of the state. That’s good, but foregive me if I are wrong here, but isn’t that what the Office of General Services was supposed to do? Like what have we been paying all those good folks at OGS all these years to do — look the other way?! Maybe we don’t need an Office of General Services. Maybe we can save a few billion dollars tomorrow by getting rid of that bureaucracy’s bureaucracy?

This week’s poll question asks you whether the results of these audits — finding the state is spending millions of unused office space and overpaying vendors for products and services — is the exception to the rule or the tip of the iceberg or if you haven’t been paying attention.

Story # 2

Like Nick Confessore’s piece the second big story of the week is just a hard-working reporter’s taking the time to plumb his sources for news that we all should be paying attention to. I’m referring to Rick Karlin’s piece for the Albany Times Union “Upstate taxes tops in national study“.

All those opposed to doing something about runaway property taxes in New York ought to pay attention to this story which reports that the 15 highest taxed counties in the United States of America are in upstate New York. Could that fact have some relation to why so few young college graduates of New York colleges and universities stay in New York? Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that businesses don’t want to move to New York unless we give them tax breaks and free employees and serve them double mocha lattes every morning when they report to work; or maybe it is related to the fact that middle class retirees move out of the state if they can find someone willing to buy their homes!

Oh, and we’re not just talking about Westchester County here folks. We’re talking about Orleans County and Niagara County and Allegany County. No wonder the tea party movement is so strong in the western part of the state.

Time to Read Books?

If you have time to read books and are interested in winning a book, here’s your opportunity. The Empire Page is giving away 4 books. To enter, just email editor@empirepage.com and tell us which of the four you’d like to have a chance to win. One entry per carbon unit please.

Here are the four:

  1. Tales from the Sausage Factory by Dan Feldman and Gerald Benjamin
  2. Vale of Tears (a novel) by Congressman Peter T. King
  3. Deliver us from Evil (a novel) by Congressman Peter T. King
  4. Terrible Beauty (a novel) by Congressman Peter T. King
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