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State Senator Brian Foley
March 13, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT
Mr. Foley began by reviewing the origins of the revenue shortfalls. The reduction in income tax receipts derived from mega-bucks bonuses on Wall Street, and reduced sales taxes being among the causes. We did not discuss any remedies, because frankly, there are none on the horizon.
The Senator went on to review some of the positives that we have going in the state and locally. One of those bright spots is The Center for Advanced Technology, which has been granted $120 million from the federal stimulation fund. Another helpful agency has been the Empire Zones, which he considered extremely helpful to Long Island’s economy. He also cited the IDA program but pointed out that while the IDA program has worked well on Long Island it needs reform upstate.
The federal stimulus plan will address the needs of the MacArthur hub. New designs are being drawn for the area to make the train and airport connections more efficient. I have no details to report here.
One of the questions from the audience addressed the available money for energy efficiency. Mr. Foley indicated that there would be increased funds for that purpose
Brian was asked about the cost of K through 12 education costs, and how do we support a system that is not cost conscious. The senator answered the question from the point of view that better funding methods are needed. He suggested that more money should come from the state. I countered that the problem is centered on out of control costs. Getting more money from the state is nice, but the careless inefficient operations, along with 126 school districts and their overpaid administrators are the problem.
Editorial note; The burden of property taxes, which are at least 70% attributable to school taxes, has been heaped on the people of Long Island. The load is difficult in a good economy and totally unsustainable in troubled times. Yet these unchecked bureaucracies are like little fiefdoms that are answerable to no one. School boards are intimately intertwined with schools they are charged with overseeing. Teachers from adjoining districts and vendors to the schools on boards are hardly the watchdogs we need. Enough is enough, and Atlas is about to shrug.