Sunday, February 04, 2007

Guv scares 'em, no buts about it

Times Herald-Record Editorial

A very nice summary of what "Day One" is all about and the obstacles that lie in Spitzer's Way.........andy

After the inaugural address for inspiration and the State of the State for vision comes the budget where the new New York of Eliot Spitzer really takes shape. Judging by the responses of a host of special interests and legislative leaders, the governor is onto something. They all appreciate his energy and vision but ...
But how will the hospitals and nursing homes provide the care people need if they get less money? They already get and waste too much, the governor says. His plan will make sure the money gets to the people who count, the patients. Besides, health care already takes up a third of the state budget and grows faster than spending in other states. Just because they want more and spend more and donate more to legislators does not make this a good idea. That's a debate New York needs, and it has to rise above the level of dueling press releases.
But how will the state be able to return $6 billion in property taxes over three years? Spitzer says he'll do it by closing loopholes and not raising taxes. Republicans say that closing loopholes is raising taxes, and it certainly must feel that way to those who slither through the loops. Those of us without such loop access look forward to the spreadsheets outlining the many sides on this one.
But how can he raise state aid to education by billions, abandon the formula that has guided the distribution for years and get the power to take over schools that are failing their students and/or their fiscal responsibilities? Here, the question needs to be turned around. How can the Legislature defend a formula that does not equitably distribute aid where it is needed and keeps on channeling money with no expectation that it goes to the needs of students and no penalty for failure?
But how will he get any of this done with what people are already referring to as his "prosecutorial" attitude and tendency to get in the face of those who disagree? Let's answer that one for the governor: How will he make any changes in Albany if he does not?

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