Quality of life

In a little over a month, I will celebrate my 50th birthday and as I recently told my daughters, my initiative going forward is all about quality of life. They looked a bit surprised when I told them that I’ve crested the hill and am going down the back side of the mountain as statistics show that I’m probably at or near sixty percent of my life expectancy. A sobering thought although I certainly hope I defy those odds and live to the healthy, ripe old age of ninety or so. The point is that quality of life is my primary goal and that to me is defined as low cost of living, less government intrusion, decent weather and a robust business environment. Sadly, New York doesn’t supply any of that and it probably won’t in my lifetime if it ever does again.

Born and raised in the Mid-Hudson Valley I cannot recall one time that I said – I can’t wait for winter to get here. No, usually what I’m wishing for is spring. Besides the weather I believe that New York, like so many other blue states, is headed down a dangerous path, one that will no doubt feature an implosion. I honestly do not believe that the problems we face – high taxes, too much government, a poor business climate and little personal freedom – will be fixed in my lifetime and if they are, it will be far too late for it to be advantageous to me. What I really worry about is my kids – what future can they possibly have here? What jobs or business opportunities exist? How will they ever afford to buy a house and pay the outrageous taxes? Oh don’t worry. The State Legislature has been “working on” the high property taxes since Hinchey was in the Assembly.

After hearing Travis Brown, of http://www.howmoneywalks.com, speak recently I ordered his book and I’m sure when it arrives it will be the umpteenth resource I have to prove what I already know – high taxes are driving people out of NYS. According to Brown, who pulled all his data from IRS records, between 1992 and 2010 $68.1 billion in AGI (adjusted gross income) left the state of New York. Most of that money went to Florida. What a shocker.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University identifies New York as the least free (personal and economic) state out of all fifty and here’s what their recent report says, “New York is by far the least free state in the Union. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9.0 percent of the state’s 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011, the highest such figure in the nation.”

State credit ratings are another issue for New York. The state is not at the bottom of the rankings, but it’s not at the top either. Fixed with a mid-line AA credit rating according to the Tax Foundation and a fiscal condition rank of 40 (yes, out of 50), things in New York aren’t looking too rosy in the fiscal category either. Florida, by the way, has a credit rating of AAA and a fiscal rank of 4, respectively.

Not that you haven’t heard this before, but NYS consistently has the worst business climate according to the Tax Foundation. So bad in fact that NY continues to hold the prestigious #50 spot. This, despite Cuomo’s nonsensical Start Up NY program where he’s projected to spend $323 million over the next three years according to a report issued from the Governor’s budget office.

And the award for the highest taxes in the nation also goes to NY. What an honor bestowed upon us with 14% of income on average going to taxes and fees.

Strong job growth projections as predicted by numerous research and economic organizations do not include New York either. Top job growth in the states according to Pew Charitable Trusts will be in this order: North Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. And no shock, New York is projected to remain near the bottom of the list for job growth with only Vermont, Maine, Illinois and DC behind us.
So here is my definition of quality of life:

1) Low taxes and low cost of living to allow me to keep more of what I earn
2) Growing business climate to provide opportunities to make a profit and grow a business
3) Great year round weather to enable me to enjoy leisure time with swimming, walking, biking, playing tennis and probably taking up golf again
4) More freedom and less government intrusion for greater personal liberty

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings any if there were far fewer liberals and far more fiscal conservatives either. With that said and please forgive the longer than usual post, it is my intention to leave New York – the state I have called home for almost fifty years – for greener pastures, a lower cost of living and a much better climate (business and environment) by the fall of this year. Yes, I am heading to the Sunshine State and I will learn to deal with lizards, alligators and hurricanes, which will beat deer ticks, liberals and blizzards any day of the week.

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Government at work?

Now, what might this be? Excuse the blurriness, but yes, it is a flyer that I photographed hanging on the wall in the first floor ladies room in the County Office Building this morning. I guess Chairman Parete is offering up his parking space in some sort of promotional gimmick to a county employee. Is this what your taxpayer dollars are busy doing?

Leg Bathroom photo 20140411_093243 (2)

Yes, Government can be smart
Word on the street is that Governor Cuomo might make an appearance in Rosendale in the near future at the opening of the new shared municipal services building. The building – the former Rosendale Elementary School – will be shared between three municipalities – Rosendale, Marbletown, and Rochester – and the Rondout Valley School District. The idea was brought to fruition by Rosendale Town Supervisor Jeanne Walsh (D-Rosendale) who was first elected in 2011.

I hope before Cuomo makes the trip down that somebody reminds him that while Jeanne Walsh is a registered Democrat, when she first ran for Supervisor in 2011 she was shunned by her own party who instead selected Democratic candidate Jennifer Metzger. Walsh went on to seek the nomination to run from the Rosendale Republicans and Conservatives. Jeanne ran on the Republican and Conservative lines and also on an independent line known as the Liberty Coalition. Metzger appeared on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines. Walsh won and the Democrats – including Cuomo – have the Republicans to thank for this new deal because if Metzger had been elected it’s likely that this revolutionary arrangement – the first of its kind in the state – would never have happened.

These arrangements as the Governor well knows will save the taxpayers significant dollars, which only benefits the taxpayers. The point of all this is that there are Republicans who are big spenders and there are Democrats who are big spenders. Unfortunately we seem to have more big spenders than we do responsible spenders in both parties. There is no doubt that no matter who the elected officials are and no matter what party they are registered in we need more of them like Jeanne Walsh. As she’ll tell you – she’s the Supervisor of the Town of Rosendale representing the people, not any political party. Rosendale is very fortunate to have her and I hope they know it.

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Ulster County voter registration totals

Voter registration totals as of April 1, 2014 per Vic Work at the Ulster County Board of elections. (Note: I asked both Vic and Tom via email and Vic was the first one to respond.)

Take a look at that NOP figure, which is “not enrolled in a party” and look at the big lead the Dems now have. Yup, Florida is looking better and better.

Democrats           38,335

Republicans         28,306

Conservatives       2,610

Working Fam           634

Independence      5,770

NOP                      34,315

Total                    110,726

Men                        51,362

Women                  59,094

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Dirty Laundry

Many months ago I was told that yet again the GOP would be bringing disloyalty charges against one of its own members – a hard working, fiscally conservative Republican – for challenging another Republican (an incumbent) in a run for local office. Judging from the votes this disloyal Republican received, I’d say there was a lot of support, which means a lack of support for the incumbent.

As the GOP is finding out across the country there is a stark difference between the status quo GOP and those of us who self-identify as fiscal conservatives. When a Republican gets elected and immediately speaks of raises for the job they just ran for and when they fail to appropriately account for mandated expenses in their budget, that sort of behavior tends to alienate some Republicans while truly aggravating others.

My favorite part of all of this is when Len Bernardo, Chair of the Un-Party, Faux-Party and Total-Nonsense Party known as the Independence Party chimes in and gives his advice. News flash to all you Republicans – Len Bernardo is not a Republican! He will never be a Republican (he said so himself) and he should not be involved in any Republican Party business. He will support Democrats and support Republicans only when they will be the winner so he has no allegiance to you. If you’ve learned nothing from the last five years, I would hope it is at least that.

So when a certain Republican Town Chair, who was accused of writing a blog that picked on a number of Republicans including several who remain members of the Ulster County Legislature, brings charges against another Republican, there is a serious problem. You can imagine that many Republicans were calling for the blog writer’s head to be served upon a silver platter, but with plenty of other more important things to do in the brief time I was Chair this never happened.

Here’s my question to the GOP and Roger Rascoe – you don’t have enough to do without doing this nonsense? You don’t have Gibson to defend and Amedore to help? Cut the crap and get back to work. And do me a favor (and many others, too) – tell Len Bernardo to mind his own damned business. Hell, he’s got his own “party” to run.

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Family jobs and work hours

Recently, Nicole Parete, formerly known as Nicole Tucker who ran for the County Legislature in 2011 and lost and who is now the wife of former County Legislator Rob Parete, who is the son of Legislature Chairman John Parete was let’s say…un-appointed to the County Youth Board, a body whose members are selected by the County Executive. Even more recently Nicole Parete has been hired by my favorite Assemblyman Kevin Cahill to do some unnamed job as a member of his staff. I’m assuming good ole Shelly Silver found some more of the people’s money laying around unused to dole out to troubled Legislators. Hey why not hand out some of the people’s money to Cahill so can hire extra staff to help save his smoldering tail-feathers during the upcoming election. There are rumors that Cahill will face a primary challenger this year. We can only hope. There is no announced Republican candidate. Or at least not one that I have been told about.

If my memory serves me the Legislature when it was being led around by the nose by former Chairwoman Bernardo passed a resolution modifying the work week for legislative employees from 37.5 to 40 hours. Now it seems the Legislature wants to decrease the work week from 40 hours to 37.5 hours via Resolution 116. I wish these people would figure out what they’re doing. If anyone else figures it out, please let me know.

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Rochester post-Bernardo

The once pro-Republican town of Rochester has Republicans dropping like flies. Only a few short years ago and, not coincidentally, pre-Bernardo, the Republicans in Rochester were very active – not only the GOP committee, but the Republican Club, too. After resigning as Chair of the Industrial Development Agency Board last year and subsequently stepping off the board entirely then followed by his resignation as Town of Rochester GOP Chairman, David O’Halloran has also announced he will not be seeking reelection as President of the Rochester Republican Club.

In a flier I received via email, it seems that none of the current Rochester GOP Club officers – O’Halloran, Rob Case, Shane Ricks or Barbara Zaccai – are seeking reelection. You got it – all four board members are done.

If you’re a Rochester Republican and you’re interested in getting involved, attend the event. Details follow.

Rochester Republican Club

April 10, 2014

 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

at Pinegrove Ranch

 

Please come and participate in the re-organization of your Republican Club

 

Agenda

Pledge of Allegiance

Nomination of President

Vote

Nomination of Vice-President

Vote

Nomination of Treasurer

Vote

Nomination of Secretary

Vote

Remainder of Agenda to be announced by new officers

Adjournment

 

The following Rochester Republican Club officers are not seeking re-election:

Dave O’Halloran, President

Rob Case, Vice-President

Shane Ricks, Treasurer

Barbara Zaccai Secretary

 

All Rochester Republican Club books, campaign supplies, member lists and account balances will be turned over to the new officers once elected.

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This and that and more SAFE Act flaws

First, I have a long overdue thank you to John Parete and a welcome back to Nettie Tomshaw. It seems that I owe Chairman Parete a pat on the back for surprising even me and doing the right thing by hiring Nettie Tomshaw back as a staff person in the Legislative Clerk’s office. Whether this was John Parete’s idea, the Democrats in the Legislature’s idea or someone else’s brilliant plan, I just wanted to say thank you. You may recall that the firing of Nettie Tomshaw by former Chairwoman Terry Bernardo was not met with overwhelming support as Tomshaw was clearly targeted by Bernardo. Well, as fate works out and karma often catches up, Bernardo is out and Tomshaw is back in. Thank you, John Parete, and welcome back Nettie.

Next, with Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R) who represents the 101st Assembly District that stretches across an absurd number of counties talking about a GOP primary challenge against U.S. House Member Robert Hanna, some local Republicans are chomping at the bit to throw their names in the hat to run for Tenney’s Assembly district. I’m told these include Matthew Watkins, Tenney’s community liaison and member of the Shawangunk GOP committee, Brian Maher, Mayer of Walden, who challenged Tenney in a primary in 2011, and none other than Ulster County Legislator Ken Ronk (R-Shawangunk). With a district spanning six counties, most of which is well north of Ulster, I bet there will be plenty of others throwing their names in the hat should Tenney decide to pursue a run for Congress.

More flaws with the SAFE Act. It has been brought to my attention that there is yet another serious flaw with Governor Cuomo’s SAFE Act that harms and unduly punishes lawful gun owners. It appears that licensed permit holders may be committing a felony when they go to vote.

NY State Penal Law section 265:

 

§ 265.01-a. Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.

A  person  is  guilty  of  criminal  possession  of a weapon on

school grounds when he or she knowingly has in his or her possession

a  rifle, shotgun,  or  firearm  in  or  upon  a  building  or

grounds,  used for educational purposes, of any school, college, or

university, except  the forestry  lands,  wherever  located,  owned

and maintained by the State University of New York college of

environmental science and forestry, or upon a school bus as defined

in section one  hundred  forty-two  of  the vehicle  and  traffic

law,  without  the  written authorization of such educational

institution.

Since criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class E felony it seems that licensed permit holders should not vote (oh isn’t that a dream come true of Democrats?), but should instead vote by absentee ballot or they should leave their guns home because leaving them in the car is also a felony. Many upstate polling places are in schools. So once again, the law abiding folks are being penalized. If you’re concerned about this asinine law that should be repealed because it protects no one from ILLEGAL guns, there is a rally in Albany on April 1st at 10am, Capitol Park.

And hopefully for the last time this year – enjoy the snow!

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