Free Republican Caucus Initiative Statement
From Carl P. Paladino
The policies of Andrew Cuomo, Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver in 2011 and 2012 were the same old deception and theatrics of the Albany insider establishment. Were the three in cahoots? Only a fool would believe otherwise.
The Republican Party must clean up its own house before it will be capable of challenging the problems of the state. The insidious Skelos must resign or be deposed as majority leader of the Senate immediately. We will support republican candidates who agree to a simple pledge stated at the end of this memo. Included are a slate of republican primary candidates to oppose Mark Grisanti, James Alessi, Roy McDonald and Stephen Saland, all of whom showed a lack of integrity and respect for those who elected them.
In 2011, by use of intentional illusion and theatrics, the establishment distracted taxpayers with the need to resolve a contrived $10 billion “budget deficit.” As a result essential issues of the day that, if addressed, would significantly improve life in New York, were not considered.
Andrew Cuomo, in a release dated January 31, 2011 (attached) stated:
“The budget process is a metaphor of Albany dysfunction:” “This is the system that has brought New York to the brink, and it is why we are the highest ‘spending-and-taxing’ state in the nation with programs that fail to perform for the people.” “This is the real budget battle that I will wage this year…we must reform the process so that the cycle finally stops.”
Cuomo had inadvertently revealed knowledge of what had been for years a “state secret” process used by the Albany establishment to create the illusion of financial distress. It was generally unknown to the taxpayers of the state. Obviously Cuomo’s release was a mistake. There was no follow up or mention of the issue again.
The term “budget deficit” is ill defined. Cuomo truthfully says in his release that it’s the difference between state revenues and the state’s growth in spending dictated by formulas calling for automatic percentage increases far in excess of the CPI, built into laws for decades by the establishment, without any regard to fiscal realities, performance or accountability. In other words it wasn’t real; it was a paper “budget deficit.”
Although he criticized the deception to the public, Cuomo continued the illusion when, complicit with Silver, Skelos and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, he declared a “$10 billion budget deficit” for 2011.
After nonsensical but “intense” political rhetoric and theatrics (the Medicaid Reform Commission was a blundering joke) and just prior to the end of the fiscal year, the three men in a room declared, without any clear line item explanation, that the deficit was resolved. The press cheered the amazing accomplishment. The taxpayers, unable to fully grasp the confusing subtleties and press sound bites, but nevertheless always in pursuit of hope, also cheered the miraculous event and Cuomo’s favorables went up to 70%. All of that would not have been possible without the complicity of Dean Skelos and the treacherous Republican Senate Caucus. You can’t make this stuff up.
New York government is dominated by an “establishment” ruling class made up of members of both major parties addicted to feeding at the public trough. They deny the taxpayer a cost productive, responsive and apolitical government to serve their needs.
The three men in a room recently declared that the 2011 legislative session was a complete success and there was little to do in 2012. For the democrats the arrogance is expected. For Dean Skelos and the republicans it is repugnant.
The shallow and disinterested Albany press only report what the establishment feeds them by way of announcements and press releases. They never demand transparency. If they go off the reservation they will be denied access.
The establishment cabal refuses to address critical core issues such as:
1) Children are held captive without choice in our dysfunctional urban education systems responsible for the worst of our societal ills. Education issues demanding attention include:
- Regents must be allowed to fire dysfunctional school boards and Superintendents
- Creation of residential schools for children from dysfunctional homes
- Vouchers and tax credits will provide real choice and halt the flight of the middle class
- Rid the system of the anachronism called “tenure”
- Rescind 3020a of the Education Law so that a wayward teacher may be punished
- Consolidate school districts
- Rescind the Taylor Law for teachers (we can hire babysitters if they choose to strike)
- Cuomo “negotiated” watered down standards with the teachers union with no transparency. The devil will be in the details. It’s called kicking the can down the road
2) Stop baseless state tax audits on small businesses which can’t afford the attorney and accountant fees and punishing DEC fiats that make development impossible.
3) Allow recall, initiative and referendum.
4) Tort, workers’ compensation and malpractice reform will save taxpayers and businesses billions in premiums.
5) Rescission of the Triborough Amendment and Wicks Law will put in check that special class of citizens known as the government employees.
6) If legislators rebel against “three men in a room government” dictating their agenda and controlling our destiny they will be punished. Hello!! Is that it? Do we just accept our plight and follow the cowards into the barbed wire? When exactly did we
forget how to fight the bully? The irony is that we suffer at the hands of tyrants because we have sadly empowered them to do what they do. They are good at self-preservation.
Assemblyman Dan Burling messed with Sheldon Silver and was redistricted into oblivion. George Orwell said “All pigs are equal but some are more equal than others.” Silver, the tyrant, elected by a few thousand voters in Manhattan, is a poster child for term limits which are vital not only for elected office but also for leadership positions. Restoring power to individual legislators is essential to responsible government.
7) New Yorkers didn’t vote for the most liberal social welfare benefit package in the world. Cuomo resists reform of $10 billion in annual fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid because 99 percent of those on entitlements vote for Democrats. Costly and unnecessary “optional benefits,” without the right of counties to opt out, invite every Tom, Dick and Harry to New York to climb onto the backs of the taxpayers.
8)”Pension reform” is an undefined term. There will be no transparency in negotiations to catch the “winking of the eye.” They will just announce how, “after intense negotiations,” the unions agreed to some watered down terms. The press and the people will cheer.
9) Marcellus Shale, back door borrowing, unfunded mandates, double dipping, consolidating and reform of 733 State Authorities including the wasteful MTA, the inequity of member items being distributed according to seniority etc, etc, etc.
Republicans across the State worked hard to secure a majority in the Senate to address these issues only to be thrown under the bus by Skelos and his cohorts who sold out to Cuomo and Silver using “redistricting” as the excuse for appeasement. Skelos cowered conveniently abdicating his power and bargaining chips to the liberal elitists. Why? It’s simple. He is part of the parasitic establishment. Like Silver, Skelos takes big compensation from his personal injury firm. Is it a conflict? Do you think?
The gutless argue the potential loss of the Senate majority to Democratic control. What does it matter when the Republican Senate Caucus acts like Democrats.
In the 2010 primary, the “Mad As Hell” rank and file voted for Paladino over Lazio, the establishment candidate, 63% to 37%. The old guard, still in denial and lost in an identity crisis declined to get the vote out. They enjoy the benefits of the status quo. The likes of Lazio, Reda, Skelos and D’Amato (now a lobbyist and soul mate of Cuomo using his special access to line his pockets) advised establishment candidates Wilson and Donovan to stay away from the head of the ticket and they did. Had they stood united with me they would have fared much better upstate and would probably have won their elections. Now they piss and moan that they lost because of me. Grow up gentlemen. You took bad advice from pretenders and you are now irrelevant.
Taxpayers want entitlement encroachment and permanent democrat majority efforts stopped dead. They expect elected officials to fight for the principles of the rank and file and keep their promises. Appeasement, weakness and conciliation are not options. They want fighters carrying their banner. They spent years building a life in New York and want to be able to tell their kids and grandkids that they have a future here.
To receive our support we request that all current state republican senators and primary candidates pledge that, if re-elected, they will: 1.) Join the Free Republican Caucus Initiative 2.) Immediately move to and in fact replace Skelos as majority leader and 3.) Represent the interests of those who elected them.
If you believe in the principles and action advocated herein:
1) Forward this statement to your email and Facebook friends and relatives and ask them to forward it on.
2) Make a sincere effort to get all of your family and friends registered to vote as Conservatives, Republicans and Independents (not the Independent Party.)
3) Primary day is tentatively set for June 26, 2012. Encourage your republican friends and family to vote for our endorsed candidates who will be announced.
4) If you receive this by other than direct e-mail from me, send us your name, phone number and e-mail to “FreeRepublicanCaucusInitiative@yahoo.com.
IT’S ABOUT OUR VALUES AND OUR FUTURE
The Real Albany Sham: The Budget
By Governor Andrew Cuomo (January 31, 2011)
As Attorney General, I uncovered schemes by lenders to exploit students, plots by insurance companies to defraud patients and attempts by Wall Street to deceive homebuyers. In the past 30 days, as I have prepared the state’s budget, I was shocked to learn that the state’s budget process is a sham that mirrors the deceptive practices I fought to change in the private sector.
The budget process is a metaphor of Albany dysfunction: special interests dominate the process with little transparency; programs continue with no accountability and the taxpayers get the exorbitant bills. The greatest challenge – and opportunity – in this year’s difficult budget is to expose this chronic problem and reform it once and for all. Here’s how it works.
This year it is widely accepted and often reported that the state has a $10 billion “deficit” (I myself have often repeated this number). What does that mean? It is the difference between state revenues and the state’s growth in spending in next year’s budget. The next question is: who is responsible for setting the growth in the state’s budget? The answer is shockingly, no one. It is dictated by hundreds of rates and formulas that are marbleized throughout New York State laws that govern different programs – formulas that have been built into the law over decades, without regard to fiscal realities, performance or accountability. The formulas operate year after year, generating liabilities that when totaled define the state’s budget growth. The one thing the rates do well is increase year after year. These formulas (predominantly in education and Medicaid funding) are often inserted into the law by pressure from well-connected special interests and lobbyists. When a governor takes office, in many ways the die has already been cast.
Unbelievably, this year these rates and formulas in total call for a 13 percent increase in Medicaid and a 13 percent increase in education funding next year. A 13 percent increase, in this economic climate, is wholly unrealistic. Wouldn’t you like your salary or savings account to be based on a formula that gave you a 13 percent increase even though inflation was under 2 percent? The world doesn’t work that way – except in Albany.
Besides dictating numbers, this process frames the dialogue around the budget and biases the political discourse. First, the rate of increase is rarely discussed. The 13 percent increase this year is close to a state secret. I spoke with numerous experienced Albany hands who had no idea
the programs increased 13 percent. In Albany speak, “deficit” means the amount needed to fund the 13 percent increase (as opposed to a normal rate of increase). For example, if one assumed these programs would increase at the rate of inflation (instead of 13 percent) the 10 billion dollar deficit is really a 1 billion dollar deficit. A “cut” is then defined as anything less than a 13 percent increase. By forcing the debate to start with such a large hike — the final budget ends up spending much more than the year before — even after the Governor attempts “cuts.” For example, what is called a 7 percent cut in spending is actually a 6 percent increase over the prior year.
The expression used to explain this budget process is that the rates are in “permanent law,” and thus, cannot be changed. “Permanent law” is a term to suggest differentiation from the state’s annual budget bills which are “temporary” as they only exist for one year. This “permanent law” is really the way the “permanent government” of lobbyists, special interests and political friends manipulates the entire system and misleads the public in the process.
This is the system that has brought New York to the brink, and it is why we are the highest “spending-and-taxing” state in the nation with programs that fail to perform for the people.
This all must end. We need fundamental reform in the budget system that allows us to recalibrate spending this year to a sustainable level and replace “the special interest protection program” of automatic, unrealistic increases. There is no such thing as “permanent” laws and they must all
be reviewed and replaced or modified when necessary. The state budget should increase based on objective, fair criteria such as the rate of inflation, enrollment, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or personal income growth. Programs should be reviewed for effectiveness and terminated if they are not working well. Reimbursement rates should be negotiated to get the best bargain. Performance should be measured.
Albany must give up its insistence on pleasing the special interests rather than serving the people. This is the real budget battle that I will wage this year. We must balance this year’s budget but we must also reform the process so that the cycle finally stops. This year’s budget is not merely about the numbers. It’s about our values and our future.