Good Thursday morning. Here’s a digest of opinion content published today in The Journal News:
Mandate relief: Editorial
We comment on news that Moody’s, the credit-rating agency, reported this week that Rockland County could suffer significantly because of the state’s new 2-percent property-tax cap. The time for mandate relief is now, we argue. We write:
… County executives, especially, have blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to push through a tax cap while doing little to undo unfunded state mandates, which are responsible for about 75 percent of counties’ costs. Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef has said the county’s Medicaid costs alone exceed the total amount his county collects in property taxes.
While Cuomo formed a Mandate Relief Task Force, its spring report — and lack of action — has been a disappointment.
The political pressure for a tax cap came from overstressed New York homeowners demanding relief. Now local officials, under pressure to live within the cap, have to pour the pressure on Albany to deliver on mandate relief. The alternative is to convince voters they have no choice but to exceed the 2 percent cap on annual tax increases.
Governments and school districts can exceed the cap with a 60 percent majority of their voting body. That could be heavy lifting for school districts, whose budgets are put to a public vote. For Rockland County government, the voting body is the 17-member Legislature. Vanderhoef’s 2011 budget, roundly criticized but barely tweaked by the Democratically controlled Legislature, passed 12-5, within the margin that will be needed to top the 2 percent cap. …
Tappan Zee Bridge: Reisman
Phil Reisman comments on Tuesday’s bizarre double-suicide attempt on the Tappan Zee Bridge. The span, an increasingly frequent site for suicides, is becoming a bridge of despair.
Here’s a survey of what our colleagues are saying today:
Don’t let millions get away: Editorial, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Cuomo needs to block corrupt redistricting: Editorial, The Buffalo News
Teacher evaluation plan is convoluted, relies too heavily on tests: Editorial, Syracuse Post-Standard
Obama, GOP must level with the public on federal debt: Editorial, Daily News
Now it’s time to enforce texting ban: Editorial, Poughkeepsie Journal
Tough choices for all parents: Editorial, Newsday
Texting is deadly and now, it’s illegal: Editorial, Times Herald-Record