Remarks on the State of the State

Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his agenda for 2014 with a promise to transform a 10 billion dollar deficit into a 2 billion dollar surplus while increasing the state’s role in attracting jobs to New York State and delivering an assortment of tax cuts and targeted credits. Yet he gives little attention to the need for and where he would cut expenses except to encourage local communities to consolidate services.

He promised to create 400,000 new private sector jobs and has proposed certain initiatives to attract international investment, resort development, among other sectors of the economy. What he fails to understand is that good ideas do not need government promotion and government direction to be undertaken. Good ideas sell themselves and private investment in New York State will become more attractive once government gets out of the way and removes some of the impediments to both starting and continuing a business.

Among the proposals offered is a joint commission with the State Legislature to eliminate regulatory barriers that make it difficult to do business in New York State. He has identified the problem as has Governor’s in the past, but neither the executive or legislative branch have taken the bold steps necessary to clear a path for economic growth by clearing the path for new business to compete with the vested interests that are protected by over regulation. A bold initiative by the Governor would be to shine a spotlight on the regulatory hindrances and demand that the legislature act where legislative action is necessary and move quickly with executive orders wherever possible.

Experience has informed us that these are just “words” designed to disguise the reality that government initiatives to bring business to the state are offered only on the politician’s terms. That while they may speak about private sector jobs, what they really mean is private sector jobs that owe their existence and allegiance to the political powers of both parties.

The Governor goes on to offer an assortment of tax relief measures targeted toward many groups that are struggling to survive; but proposals to freeze property taxes which fund local governments is something best left to be decided at the local level.

Reforming the state tax structure as the governor has proposed does not conform with his proposal to establish different corporate tax rates for the manufacturing industries in upstate New York from those that are in place for other business’s and in other parts of state. This is discriminatory taxation.

Rather, if the government wants to recognize the special needs of upstate New York, he and others would abandon the silly notion that the cost of living in parts of the state is not the same as it is in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan areas.

Accordingly he would recognize that a statewide minimum wage works to the disadvantage of struggling upstate communities attempting to work their way out of the marginalized economy that the state with its regulations have plagued them with.

Special tax rates and tax exemptions that the Governor has supported and established for designated development areas are not stimulates to the New York economy. Rather they are gifts to the real estate developers and businesses that will locate there, those same business’s that owe their existence in New York state not to a free market but to allegiance to the political powers that help them get established.

What might appear to be private sector job growth is really nothing more than politically connected job growth that drives out real entrepreneurs, destroys jobs, widens the gulf between rich and poor and does real damage to the overall economy.

The Governor would like you to focus on the jobs he can claim to have created, but there is no spotlight shining on the jobs that have been taxed or regulated away,

Without real cuts in expenses, such tax breaks are merely shifts in the burden of financing an expanded government and what is left unseen until after the damage is done are the losers, the ones that get the shaft when taxes are shifted from the favored to those without a voice.

William P. McMillen
Former Chair of Libertarian Party of New York
1982 Libertarian Candidate for State Comptroller
1988, 1998 Libertarian Candidate for United States Senate