Here’s a look at opinion content published today, Tuesday, Jan. 4:
Public-employee unions: Editorial
We comment on news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decreased his salary by five perecent, decreased his office’s budget by five percent and proposed a year-long wage freeze for state workers. Early signs from the Cuomo administration would also seem to indicate a heated discussion about public-employee unions as a new state budget is negotiated. We write:
… In advance of his State of the State address on Wednesday, Cuomo set the stage Monday for the kind of sacrifice he will call for from collective-bargaining units representing state workers. He said he would cut his $179,000 salary by 5 percent; senior administration officials would see the same cut. He also ordered a 5 percent reduction in his office budget. The savings will be miniscule against the backdrop of the state’s budget woes: There is a $1 billion deficit in this year’s budget and a projected $10 billion deficit in next year’s, which is due out by Feb. 1.
Those numbers put a figurative bull’s eye on the backs of state workers, of whom there are approximately 190,000; Cuomo has pledged, apparently without qualification, that there will be no new taxes — meaning “something” has to give. Cuomo will outline some of the policy implications from this math when he delivers his State of the State address. Already, however, there has been considerable discussion of a salary freeze for state workers, who enjoy some of the most generous pay and benefits going; most of their collective bargaining agreements expire on March 31 — another reason these issues are coming to a head now. He also has called for an annual cap on state spending — to go along with some relief on expensive state mandates.
Relatedly, Cuomo has also signaled that cuts in state school aid are in the offing and that he expects to push for an annual cap on local property tax increases — both steps sure to force more job losses in schools, municipalities and in health care. Funding recipients aren’t likely to tap other sources — the local taxpayer — to account for the state losses. Indeed, the days of double-digit local property tax hikes by local taxing authorities are growing smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, just like the elected officials who supported them. …
Ken Jenkins: Reisman
Phil Reisman assesses the battle between the administration of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins over the county’s 2011 budget. The use of the word “facts,” Reisman writes, has been more than a little fast and loose as the two sides have made their cases.
Zadroga Act: Commentary
Earl Garvey of Yorktown Heights offers a Community View on Congress’ deliberation over the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Specifically, Garvey takes Republicans to task for resisting the bill’s passage.
Stay on message, Gov. Cuomo: Albany Times Union editorial, Jan. 4
Fat Heads: New York Daily News editorial, Jan. 4
Opening up the Capitol: Syracuse Post-Standard editorial, Jan. 4
Reform spirit must not collapse into gridlock: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editorial, Jan. 4
Realign state agencies with care: Newsday editorial, Jan. 4
Pay freeze sends the right message: Times Herald-Record editorial, Jan. 4
States’ revenue rises, but shortfall remains: Watertown Daily Times editorial, Jan. 4