State Budget Woes

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party, and Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizens Budget Commission, talk about New York State's fiscal crisis. Plus, Nicole Gelinas, Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor to its City Journal, says that both the City and State are overly reliant on the financial industry.


Dan Cantor, Nicole Gelinas and Carol Kellermann

Comments [24]

Steve from Clifton NJ

I would like moderators and and guests to stop referring to Medicaide simply as "health care for the poor". The "unspoken secret" of Medicaide is that, in addition to providing health care for people with little or no personal income, it functions as a minimal (and well deserved) long term care insurance for the middle class elderly. It's not unusual for a couple who has lifellong saved assets in the neighborhood of $300,000 to spend that down very quickly in nursing home care. By the way, the vast majority of people living in nursing homes really need to be there and staff are not getting rich or even coming close to the income of construction workers and police officers. Profit margins for operators are very slim across the industry. Stop acting like it's some sort of huge cash cow.

Aug. 05 2008 02:32 PM
Jenn from Brooklyn

[16] first off they already pay a higher rate, we have a progressive income tax at the stat and fed level. 2nd, even if the rates were flat, the rich would pay proportionately more... that is the way it should be, if you work hard to achieve something the government has no right to redistribute the fruits of your efforts. It creates a dependant class of people with little motivation to improve themselves.

With respect to the NY and NYC budgets, there needs to be large and unpopular personnel and program cuts. Trying to tax the rich is a fools game since they are incredibly mobile. There is nothing to stop them from moving their primary residence elsewhere and at the end of the day someone needs to pay for all the people on the government dole. The middle class and businesses have already been leaving the state in large numbers. There is no reason we have to put up with yearly double digit growth of government spending in this state and city and then get taxed out of our homes because of it.

Aug. 04 2008 12:00 PM
Brian Lehrer Show Moderator

We've removed a few comments that were not on topic. Please keep in mind WNYC's comment posting guidelines, and keep the conversation civil.

Aug. 04 2008 11:45 AM
hjs from 11211

maybe NY state should ask for some of the money, that we pay in federal taxes, back.

Aug. 04 2008 10:45 AM
tom from nyc know it when you see video of hundreds of millions of Chinese workers are rushing to and from work at companies with American names which used to be here... this is the root of our problems

Aug. 04 2008 10:43 AM

You rich people have a lot more to lose. Shut up and pay the higher taxes. You dont want to know the alternative.

Aug. 04 2008 10:35 AM
David from Nassau County

Why not axe state legislative earmarks that pay for things like the Massapequa Little League? And eliminating the myriad special districts outside NYC that have overpaid superintendents, elected and paid commissioners and parasitic lawyers, many of whom get pensions they don't deserve? And aren't there state agencies like the Court of Claims and the new racing board that are dumping grounds for politicians?

Aug. 04 2008 10:32 AM
Christopher Deignan from Middle Village, Queens

I agree wholeheartedly with Dan Cantor. It is unconscionable to think that multi-millionaires pay the same tax rate as I do. To each his own and each according to his/her own resources. Raise their taxes and perhaps more importantly for democratic politicians is to do it loudly and with apology. Why is raising taxes in the U.S. often perceived as political suicide?

Aug. 04 2008 10:32 AM
RCT from Manhattan

No, no and NO.

I live in Westchester county. My husband and I are professionals; I'm a lawyer, while he owns a small (very small) business. Our joint income is about $300,000 per year, of which we are already paying 40% in federal, state and property taxes. That's before the mortgage and insurance, gas, home heating oil, health insurance, college tuition and retirement savings. We have no disposable income.

Does your guest believe that I should pay more taxes? No way, buddy. If we are taxed again, or if the personal income tax is raised to increase taxes on people in Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau and Fairfield counties earning between $200,000 and $400,000 per year, we will leave the NYC area. The people who are described as "rich" by advocates for the poor are actually, in areas such as NYC, the urban middle-class.

Aug. 04 2008 10:29 AM
David from Nassau County

There are many ways to eliminate waste...Eliminate earmarks from the State Legislature, such as state senators getting money for the Massapequa Little League or a new driveway for Great Neck Village Hall...Also, how about consolidation of the myriad special districts outside the City which have scores of paid commissioners, superintendents and lawyers, many of whom collect huge pensions when they are not even retired? Newsday has done outstanding work on this. Within state government, surely there are state agencies like the Court of Claims and authorities that can be cut --these also serve as dumping grounds for retired politicians.

Aug. 04 2008 10:29 AM
O from Forest Hills

True, 1/3 of NYC is Jewish, but I don't think NPR is trying to related to a Jewish audience. Please, let's not get into that!

I think this station is geered towards liberals and a Democrat agenda.

I'm not sure which guest said it, but I agree that it is not just that if you're not doing well than you're on your own and a loser and too bad.

On the flip side, I don't want to pay for 30,000 people that live out of state to be on our NYC Medicaid roll when they live in another state and we are still paying their medical expenses. I pay $1200 month for health insurance and I have only a temp job that can go at any minute making very little, so no, I will not tolerate thieves frauding the system.

We are not on our own, but nor can you milk the system and give into idleness and sloth.

Aug. 04 2008 10:27 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

The healthcare delivery system needs to be revamp completely, not just medicare!

Aug. 04 2008 10:27 AM

As someone who is unemployed, I can tell you one fact. No poor man has ever offered me a job.

I listen to this person from the working families party and based on his tone, he seems to think that the people who make a lot of money, are simply sitting back sipping Pina Colatas and not doing anything to earn the money. Most folks I know who work on Wall Street or make a lot of money don't have time to listen to WNYC or even time to do much else. They are too busy working.

A lot of them probably have worked hard their whole lives from grade school to grad school etc. And, to make their money they have probably already made sacrifices.

Also if you make a lot of money and you pay the same rate as a low salaried worker, aren't you paying more money in taxes than the teacher?

I agree that a small hike in taxes on the wealthy won't hurt the economy of NYC, but let's tone down the rhetoric.

Aug. 04 2008 10:26 AM
Anne from Manhattan

Please don't tax "those who have done a little better". We are getting bled to death by the market. How about more, LUXURY TAXES, rather than income taxes? I have worked very hard to get out of poverty (no indoor plumbing in southern Appalachia). I have finally gotten to the point where I can plan for a family and eventually retirement.

I can choose to buy, or not buy, luxuries. But, if I keep leaking money from the market already huge taxes - I cannot insure the future of my family and retirement. This sucks!

Aug. 04 2008 10:25 AM

@ Susan you might be on to something.

Aug. 04 2008 10:25 AM
Leo Queens from Queens

What PERCENTAGE of the current State budget goes to servicing the Debt? (Including the debt hidden within the budget of 'independent' agencies such as the MTA or the other 3-4,000 agencies that operate to funnel money to the politically connected

Aug. 04 2008 10:24 AM
Leo Queens from Queens

We always keep using Wall Street as the excuse for the financial problems of the state and City - It is our society and our unaccountable government that continue to rely and protect the financial sector at the expense of other economic sectors. As a result we are totally reliant and hostage to the financial industry because of our refusal (Bloomberg? Pataki? Cuomo, Guiliani, Dinkins?) to bring in good high paying jobs to the City and State OTHER than Wall Street jobs

Aug. 04 2008 10:22 AM
Michael Bauman from Manhattan

"A Jewish station" Please explain what that means, you're making be very nervous.....

Aug. 04 2008 10:22 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Recoup some of the profit that was made by the hedgefunds, investment banks and individuals who made millions on the backs of poor and middleclass homebuyers! Decline of Wall Street? Only low level Wall Streeters lose their jobs during a downturn, but what those men and women at the top who continue to make millions? They are still going to work aren't they?

Aug. 04 2008 10:22 AM

PLEASE select guests who can speak on air without rambling and speaking in run-on sentences! (I had to turn the radio off when Nicole from the Manhattan Institute talked on and on.)
Sorry, but this is radio...

Aug. 04 2008 10:20 AM
Leo Queens from Queens


You should ask your guest about the impact of the debt that the State and many 'independent' state agencies have. This is the main drag on the finances of the state in that in the 12 years of the Pataki regime he cut taxes and increased spending by mortgaging the state and the future of our children.

Regarding industries - We have a policy in NYC of discouraging clean and high tech industries and pushing existing businesses out of the City because they are not 'glamorous' in favor of services jobs and chain stores that have a major impact on the economy of the City

Aug. 04 2008 10:18 AM
Liz from brooklyn

This women is using the current crisis to push her extreme conservative agenda.

Aug. 04 2008 10:16 AM
jane from hudson valley, NY

FYI, garbage pick-up in some areas (like ours) is paid for by the citizens. That is, we pay for garbage pick-up in Dutchess County, town of Poughkeepsie. It is not a part of our taxes.

Aug. 04 2008 10:14 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Paterson should be impeach for the very suggestion of selling bridges to private companies.

Aug. 04 2008 10:07 AM

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