The constitution of New York State isn’t a musty old parchment preserved for eternity behind reflective glass. It’s a living document, encoded with DNA that permits and even invites its evolution. Its framers and stewards for over two centuries envisioned the periodic need to amend or re-write the constitution based on changes in society and the people’s sovereign right to redress perceived misgovernment. Consequently, New Yorkers have seen more than 100 amendments and five distinct constitutions, the first one drafted at convention by John Jay in 1777. Intervals between new state constitutions were 44 years (1821), 25 years (1846), 48 years (1894) and 44 years (1938). If New Yorkers were to hold a citizens’ convention and adopt a new constitution in 2012 (the earliest possible timeframe) that would be an interval of 74 years between constitutions—or nearly twice our state’s historic average. Thus the human tides of history itself suggest that a convention may be long overdue. Ironically, even those people who fear constitutional change, today enjoy its benefits.
Archive for the ‘NY political reform’ Category
Various people, media outlets and groups have proposed respectable ways out of our current state governance woes. To recap potential solutions:
- Term limits & ethics reform (You’re kidding me, right? These Albany guys aren’t going to censure themselves.)
- Vote in new representatives (Even if a host of incumbents get beat it probably won’t change the leadership.)
- Vote out the legislative leaders (Will the new partisan leaders be any better? We can’t vote out partisanship.)
- Build a strong 3rd party (Longggggggg fuse but a great idea to create decisive swing vote scenarios) Continue Reading
Have you seen Empire Center’s “Blueprint for a Better Budget?”
Behold the wailing about the Guv’s ‘10-’11 budget that calls for a less than 1% increase. Every special interest is revving up its whine. Brace your ears for the caterwauling!
Get over it, kids. Everyone spent too much in the Big Run-Up that preceded the Great Recession. The bubbleized U.S. economy got overheated. Flush and greedy, we spent our home equity money and pseudo stock profits on cruises, condo’s, and more stocks, bonds, and gold. Federal and state governments and authorities dramatically overspent the seemingly infinite tsunamis of taxes pouring in from banks and brokerages. Continue Reading
Guv Paterson touts his new Excelsior Jobs Program as the “most innovative” in state history. Its goal is to ”create” jobs in high tech and clean energy jobs. No argument so far (except that we need a massive number and diversity of jobs to employ about 1 million New Yorkers who want to work; hey, not everyone is a rocket scientist). But he could certainly use more innovative, energizing language to excite public and entreprenurial imagination. Continue Reading
I had dinner with my mentor last night, Walt Roberts, founder of Roberts Communications, one of upstate’s more successful advertising agencies. Walt’s in his 80s and has aged like a great cheddar — sharp with a satisfying, nutty flavor. He loves people, philosophy, political debate, journalism, linguistics, marketing and good thinking. Walt squinted and asked me what I am trying to accomplish with this blog. “What do you want to happen?” he asked. Continue Reading
Guv’s ‘10-’11 budget? Realistically, not bad considering that no Democratic leader will promote lower spending. But the already crushed taxpayers must be protected by an immediate 2010-11 property tax cap. Otherwise schools will simply pass on their “losses” to property owners. Talk about a regressive tax! Neighbors are leaving the state over this.
Let schools whine over their 5% budget cut. They’re holding $1.5 billion in undesignated thus mostly illegal reserves according to Comptroller DiNapoli. Let them whine. Just don’t let them increase taxes. A levy increase cap of 2% or the CPI, whichever is lower, seems about right for’10-11. (Note: I was a school board member for 13 years.)
Enjoy your day. Paul
Today I’m returning to my roots as an entrepreneur and marketing man. My blog’s fundamental premise: New York competes in a marketplace of states . We vie with other states for population, talent, jobs, and especially for taxpayers. Therefore we would be best-served by organizing and conducting ourselves like one very big, very smart modern brand-oriented company. Today’s winning products and companies become leaders through innovation, through meeting real customer needs, and by delivering great service.
Does this sound like our state government to you? Continue Reading
When do politicians mean what they say? Bitter reality would indicate hardly ever. (”Read my lips, I will not raise taxes.” “Weapons of mass destruction.”) Too many politicians shade, posture, twist, dissemble, and outright lie to manipulate us and the media. Continue Reading
A hospital board member colleague recently asked me why I was “against Medicaid.” He suggested that I was being disloyal to NYS hospitals which admittedly need more profits “to survive.” I explained my position like this:
“I took your advice and checked into the HANYS (Hospital Association of NYS) Medicaid white paper. Didn’t change my mind much. Gave me clarity that Medicaid should not be ‘fixed’ by further cutting provider payments. Hospitals and docs have been chronically underpaid for many years. It would be bad public policy to further undermine health care providers for honest services rendered. Continue Reading