Angry New Yorker

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


  • Governor George E. Pataki's 2005 Budget Address was broadcasted live worldwide on the Internet, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18th.
  • To read Governor Pataki's 2005 Budget Address now, click here. To read the speech in Adobe Acrobat click here.

UPDATE: The budget is actually growing under Pataki by 5.4%. Didn't our smiling Governor mention something about cuts? Where are the cuts? The NYS budget's now $106 billion dollars, up from roughly $8 billion in the late '70s. Unbelievable! See also from NY Post, Jan. 18 issue:

Crushing N.Y.

GOV. Pataki unveiled his new $106 billion budget yesterday — proposing to
hike state spending by nearly 3 percent over last year's level, and a whopping
16 percent over the "no growth" budget he proposed two years ago. He wants to
spend $4 billion more than the state government will take in — so he'll have to
hike the wine tax, among other things, to make ends meet. Why?

He has to feed New York's voracious budget monster: Medicaid.

As ever, the state's luxurious charity health-care program is the sickest
part of New York's chronically ill budget. Pataki long ago sold himself to
the health-care unions to reap election endorsements. For years, he's let
unrestrained Medicaid growth infect the rest of the budget.
Suddenly, the
governor is willing to admit that Medicaid is "crushing taxpayers." Yesterday,
he offered a modest proposal to pare the program's escalating growth — but his
ideas are a few billion dollars short of real cuts and a few years late in

Pataki's proposed Medicaid "cut" — much lamented in the press before
yesterday's budget speech — is pennies. Pataki wants to "cut" a billion dollars
by not hiking spending as much as the unions want him to. To Albany's
mathematicians, that's a cut. But taxpayers will still shell out $31
billion this year on Medicaid — up from $30 billion last year. Add local tax dollars, and every New Yorker — man, woman and child —
must fork over $2,300. Pataki is right to note that "if
left unchecked, Medicaid costs could consume more than half of our entire state
budget" — and to tell lawmakers that "we cannot allow this to happen."
it will likely happen, anyway — because he is too squeamish to do the dirty
Sure, Pataki proposed to gently rein in Medicaid growth with vague
"cost-containment" measures:

  • tinker with formulas used to reimburse hospitals, and he wants to dole out
    expensive prescription drugs more carefully.
  • eliminate high-priced services — like podiatry and clinical psychology — for
    some adults.
  • provide cheaper coverage to some families covered under the state's "Family
    Health Plus" plan.

But these efforts — even if Pataki can push them through the profligate
Legislature — would save just $828 million. And buried in Pataki's budget is the
news that he expects Medicaid rolls to keep rising by 11 percent over the next
few years — from 3.6 million people now to 4 million in 2008. That's not reform
— that's more spending.
* * *
Pataki is kicking all those problems into
the future. But he is keeping the state's "temporary" sales tax on clothing — so
he has no compunction about asking one struggling New York mother to scrimp more
to buy clothes for her kids so that someone else can receive free health care.
* * *
And while Pataki is happy to force state taxpayers to ease the
burden for local politicians, he wants the federal government to bear an even
greater share. In his budget speech, Pataki exhorted New York's Democratic
congressional delegation to lobby the Bush administration to hike federal
Medicaid payments to New York.

But this is just accounting gimmickry: Federal, state or local — we're all
taxpayers. Pataki only muddied the real issue with his half-measures yesterday.
He must ask: Are voters aware that their budget is under unsustainable strain
because New York's healthcare unions have declared that free or cheap health
care under Medicaid is an unalienable right for nearly 20 percent of New York's

Look up your representative here - and send them an e-mail, fax or phone call saying you're sick and tired of things and you're not going to take it anymore. Or call Gen. Tommy Franks and petition him for regime change in New York State. [ed. note - we're only half kidding.]

UPDATE: Here's more... today's editorial in The New York Post sums things up well.


New Yorkers yesterday were treated to Gov. Pataki's annual exercise in
fiscal fantasy — that is, the constitutionally required presentation of his
January spending plan for the coming year.
* * *
Yesterday, the gov's press release read, "Budget Keeps Spending Growth Below Inflation." It said the bottom line — a monstrous $106 billion — is up just 2.4 percent, which is in line with inflation. But "state funds" — the amount Albany actually funds from its own tax revenues — grows by $3.5 billion, or 5.4 percent.
* * *
Inflation is up roughly 27 percent since Pataki took office in 1995; New
York's budget is up almost 70 percent.
In any event, the governor's new plan
must be approved by state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (who, in turn, pretty much take orders from union bosses and special interests).
The chances they'll go along with Pataki, particularly on Medicaid "reform" and school aid, are, say, zero to nil. Remember, two years ago Bruno and Silver ignored Pataki altogether and essentially passed their own budget — overriding more than 100 of his vetoes. The budget for this fiscal year (which ends in some two months) still has loose ends. So anyone who thinks '05-'06 outlays will resemble anything Pataki proposed yesterday is in for a surprise.
To be sure, Pataki lobbed a few worthy suggestions, along with some real losers, into the debate. On the upside, there are:

* Some minor Medicaid cost-containment measures.
* A plan to speed up the elimination of income-tax surcharges.
* Hikes in school aid that, while still reckless, are far
better than the crazy amounts sought by the school cartel.

On the downside, the gov would:
* Hike sales tax on low-cost clothes.
* Raise various obscure taxes and fees.
* Boost Albany's reliance on gambling.
* Launch a host of unaffordable new spending initiatives and tax credits.

History suggests that little of the good will survive, and the bad will only get worse, once lawmakers get into the act. Why's that? Because Bruno and Silver have no interest at all in fiscal prudence.

Read the entire thing here.

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