Cuomo: Cutting Taxes & Benefits?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Read a recap of this conversation at It's A Free Country»»

Greg David, director of the business and economics program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, looks at the groundwork being laid for changes to property taxes and public worker benefits by the incoming Cuomo administration and others.


Greg David

Comments [22]

Thank *goodness* Brian made a point of connecting this question of "undue influence" to questions of free speech. I especially liked, "maybe we shouldn't let them vote!"

I would, however, question the wisdom of having on in the first place a "journalist" who doesn't see the slightest downside to outlawing public-sector unionization. Really? All upside?

Dec. 20 2010 12:35 PM
Martha Ecker

Mr. David incorrectly argued that the labor movement has always been antagonistic to the organization of workers in the public sector. I would recommend that he read the history of labor organization in the public sector and the debates that occurred around some of the self-same issues discussed during the program. A good place to start would be the old, but useful book entitled _Government as Employer_ by Sterling Spero as well as the more recent, _Public Workers_ by Joseph E. Slater.

Dec. 15 2010 11:56 AM
erica from nyc

your commercials are obnoxious, I agree with poster above. Stop imitating commercial radio. And stop saying before you go to a break"stay with us". I don't need that suggestion..if the program is good i can actually make that decision. Did a higher up tell wnyc to say that? A few years ago we never heard it on public radio. Thanks.

Dec. 15 2010 12:46 AM

In response to Chuzzlewit: Union members have, and continue to sacrifice to have dignity at work. Some of the gains they make slowly carry-over into non-union workplaces benefiting others. You can organize, too.

You are scapegoating public sector workers in an attempt to improve your economic situation. We have had 10yrs of tax cuts that put us in this recession, and now it will be 2 more year. Did you vote, I wonder.

Dec. 14 2010 03:42 PM
RJ from prospect hts.

I'm not sure how you're using the word "exploit," but because of safety and health and wage and hour laws that *unions* were instrumental in getting, I'd lay odds that your family would be safer and better paid than they were in the 30s. Lots of workers died building the Brooklyn Bridge, among other major building projects prior to those laws. Private contractors can provide expertise, but public oversight is needed to make sure workplaces are safe--that's what causes some delays in construction now. And you need public sector workers--also with expertise--to do the inspections. When those departments are underfunded (as is being discovered with the staffing of the rules-making group for the financial reform bill), the work is slowed and much more vulnerable to damage by interests that want to undermine them.

Dec. 14 2010 11:29 AM

A recent study noted that a higher percentage of Government workers, both Federal & State/ Local have more advanced degrees than the private sector. After all, the Government sector has more bachelors' degrees for starting positions - e.g., accountants, engineers, etc. Then there are the advanced degrees across the services professors, MDs, RNs, PhysAs, PhDs, MSs, MAs, etc.

Obviously, a higher % of advanced degrees not working in the private sector has to be recruited in some fashion. However, it is interesting that for approx. the last 30 years, it is the public sector that has maintained those in advance degrees focused on basic research in various fields. Many in many fields have been sidelined into Wall ST quants who have been engaged to facilitate "financial engineering" by the private sector. But where are the bulk of our engineering/tech science sector grads coming from? Overseas, especially PRC, EU, etc.

This is another part of the economic infrastructure that needs upgrading & more economic support. After all, education is part of the infrastructure - the tools of analysis, problem-solving, etc. come from comprehensive education, not teaching to "tests."

I believe the study was from the GAO, but it should be easily googled to find the proper cites.

Dec. 14 2010 11:05 AM
bernie from bklyn

this is a ridiculous, one-sided converstaion by people who have never done physical work in their lives.
a debate between public unions and private construction unions? how private construction workers? whether the state uses it's own workers or subcontracts it out to private union workers are basically the same fiscal rape of the taxpayer. any native ny'ers here that have ever seen the gowanus expressway without a huge "construction project" going on? it will never end because the foxes are and always will be in the henhouse.
let me give another example- the empire state building was built in 13months and that included tearing down the old waldorf!!! do you know how long the exact same project would take now, even with the latest construction technologies, 4-5 years to complete. why is that? were the workers exploited in 1930? no, they weren't. my family members were among them and could testify to that.
unions are great in theory but in practice do nothing but line pockets of the few.

Dec. 14 2010 10:59 AM
John L. from Brooklyn

Guest made a specious argument -- purpose of unions is not to protect workers from exploitation by PROFIT-making entities, but to protect workers from exploitation by their EMPLOYERS, profit-making or otherwise. It is an attempt to equalize power between individuals (by joining in a group) and a larger entity w/ greater resources and power. To contend that a "non-profit" or public entity can't somehow by definition be exploitative is ludicrous.

Dec. 14 2010 10:55 AM
ZLP from brooklyn

Next time you invite a pro-management insider to discuss unions, maybe try to be a bit more "fair and balanced" by inviting a guest with less of a vested interest in union-busting. Come on.

Dec. 14 2010 10:51 AM
Robert from NYC

Who is this guy? State workers DO pay taxes and yes they work for us but as workers we all want the same benefits and so why is he playing "us against them"! So what if we pay them? They pay themselves, they buy the products we make so they pay us it's a circular thing and we have to work this out not as us v them as everything is presented but as us looking for what's best for all of us maybe with some sacrifices here and there but making it equal all around.

Dec. 14 2010 10:47 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Who says "the public's" interest is only in how little to pay public sector workers? I'd say we have an interest in the work they do, & that implies an interest in their being fairly paid.

Dec. 14 2010 10:47 AM
Ken from Little Neck

So just because public sector employees are payed out of tax revenue, they don't have the right to not be exploited? The demonisation of unions over the last few years is absolutely disgusting. Workers have the right to be treated fairly and paid well, and yes, receive generous and expensive benefits. If paying more in taxes means a better standard of living for the middle class, then I'm all for it.

Dec. 14 2010 10:46 AM
David Weiman from 10027

I've gotten off of my exercise bike to send in this comment. While we can criticize the public unions for their political activities, but what about the private for-profit corporations lthat negotiate or "extort" (depending on your view) huge tax breaks from the city to stay in the city. Should we also ban them from political activity in pursuit of their interests? What hypocrisy?

Dec. 14 2010 10:46 AM
ml from inwood

hjs11211 has got it right. It's also the classic pickpocket syndrome: distract the middle class by having them fight over the crumbs from the trickle down economy while the richest 2% take the money and run.

Dec. 14 2010 10:44 AM

The idea of organizing public sector unions is to stop patronage hiring or appointments.

And those who get huge public sector **contracts**--building, etc.--also donate to campaigns and negotiate for those contracts.

Dec. 14 2010 10:44 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

WOW.....Brian is really carrying water for the union interests this morning.

This is why the public is kept in the dark on the coming disaster of state and local bankruptcies.
Sell your muni bonds now.

Dec. 14 2010 10:39 AM
Shante W from Brooklyn

this is just not even worth debating. There will be more public sector workers collecting pensions than actually working. This is killing municipalities throughout the nation. The problem is the unions will give up nothing until there is some forced bankruptcy where they will end up wit nothing. The public will not continue to pay more while getting less services just to maintain these benefits.

Dec. 14 2010 10:37 AM
RJ from prospect hts

And what on earth is a "civic leader" but a synonym for those who come from the aristocratic business class?

Dec. 14 2010 10:35 AM
Ben from Park Slope

Random note --

I listen to NYC at home while I work. I like being able to pay attention when the issues strike my fancy and tune the radio out when they don't.

An "ad" just came on for "It's a free country," with voices of cabbies and Bart Simpson. Cute, but obnoxious and certainly not background talk. I turned off my radio.

If you want to run "non-commercials" on your non-commercial radio station, that's up to you. But you will lose listeners.

I am a member and I pledge each year so I don't have to listen to stuff like this. Please tell your "ad" department to cool it. Thanks.

Dec. 14 2010 10:34 AM

OH divide and conquer, a tried and proven successful tool in the class war.

Dec. 14 2010 10:33 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I sure do wish WNYC would find a commentator on labor issues who actually has some expertise on the labor movement and doesn't come out of the business press, as Greg David does. This goes for the Financial 411 as well--a business reporter gets to comment weekly but not one labor person does.

Dec. 14 2010 10:33 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Want to watch Cuomo's attempt to appear that he is addressing the public sector union benefit time bomb while you fact check the actual numbers??
A new web site to monitor the numbers that the union-intimidated local media won't highlight is:

Let's face it....Cuomo (or any other union backed Democrat) isn't going to do anything beyond a few cosmetic token moves to make him look 'tough". It's a pathetic charade.

Who the heck is lobbying for the interests of homeowners and all taxpayers?

Dec. 14 2010 09:32 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.