WPCNR NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. December 2, 2017:
The Democratic caucus of the Westchester County Board of Legislators could hardly contain their enthusiasm. They have lost no time.
Wednesday they issued a press release calling for increases in county taxes of up to 30% “overtime,” getting first shot at rewarding unions without contracts for eight years under the Astorino administration now on its way out, and getting their “guys and gals” in county government, talented or not so talented.
They called for adding 12 engineers to the Public Works Department to facilitate infrastructure improvements, without stating what infrastructure problems Mr.Astorino has ignored.
They said they wanted to keep the 7 positions Mr. Astorino deleted from the County Executive office, without saying why they need them.
They said they wanted to add 28 employees to the Board of Elections staff, without explaining why and what the positions are and why the Board of Elections needs them.
They said they wanted to increase funding for social services which they say Mr. Astorino has cut without explaning why. What has been the effect? Quantify, justify, please?
They also want to replace eliminated parks attendants. Please. How about closing a park to save money, or opening them to development.
They do not want the airport deal.
They also do not seem to recognize the sales taxes the county will receive this year. The county is looking at a $17 Million surplus. Don’t they pay attention?
They did this while County Executive Elect George Latimer was saying to Lohud that he would try and limit taxes in his first budget 2019.
What is so funny about this call for up to a 30% tax increase is that two of these same Democrats broke ranks to pass the Astorino budgets the last two years. The County Legislators own the Astorino no tax increase policy because they voted it all 7 years.
The Democratic caucus seems to think the Latimer victory was a mandate from the people to raise their taxes to provide social services. A mandate is whatever you think it is. You win, you get to do what you want.
Meanwhile, unscrupulous county Democrats see the Latimer victory as a license to reward party parasites and favorites and supporters, service organizations with positions that add to the budget.
The new tax bill just passed will put incredible pressure on the budgets yet to be decided by the cities and school districts across the county. Adding to County Taxes is simply irresponsible and greedy. The Democrats want to get their parasites and cronies into position as soon as possible in the most uncertain tax environment in our lifetime.
Could they not be so eager to add their cars to the County Government Gravy Train? It is so transparent.
The Latimer mandate was an anti-Trump vote. It was not a vote to raise taxes. What sophistry. What hypocrisy.
Now the Democratic bid to raise the 2018 budget and pass it by the end of the year, relieves Mr. Latimer of the blame for raising taxes in the 2019 budget. So Mr. Latimer in preparing his first budget can have a modest increase and say he tried to hold the line.
Nice try Democratic Caucus. But so Trumpian! Donald Trump would say, “you’re learning.”
But very premature.
Look for some republicans to break ranks and override an Astorino veto between now and the end of the year. If they can reward some Republican Legislators between now and December 31, and remember, last night’s Tax Reform vote in the Senate shows that every Republican can be persuaded with the right promise, the new 12-5 Democratic majority in January will not be forced to override and stick Mr. Latimer with a double digit tax increase on the county. Clever,right?
Long sentence but I wanted to show link between greed and maintaining the fiction that the new administration is “government that works for Westchester Families.”
I may have been born yesterday but not last night. Westchester government works for itself.
Calling all parasites. The Democratic Party is taking applications for the new jobs now.
Really, if the Astorino policies were having as much an impact on social services, infrastructure, and the public the last eight years, wouldn’t we know about it? Homeless in the streets. Roads crumbling. Not opening a swimming pool is not a crisis.
The democrats in the caucus have also jeopardized the Playland deal with Standard Amusements and upped the county debt on Playland to around $60 Million instead of the original $30 Million it would have cost the county, and Standard has still not committed to the deal.
Instead of Playland debt being eliminated as Astorino’s original deal with Standarddid, the debt is now a preposterous $60 Million. Can the legislature work a calculator? Obviously not.
If I were Standard would I do business with a legislature like this over the next 15 years?
Meanwhile, you can look for swift tax increases on city and school district levels. White Plains for example has to negotiate new contrats for all its unions.
This is the year to do it before the impacts of the Trump Tax Reform become apparent in mid-2019—the first time people will be filing taxes under the new tax law.
Perhaps this is simply a negotiating tactic by the Caucus.
But still, the timing is irresponsible. Once those increases are in there it starts a tsunami of a tax wave across all cities and school districts.
But the public interest has never stood in the way of self-interest.