A provocative take on politics and culture from a skeptical, libertarian point of view

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Libertarians Call NY Budget Amendment A Scary Trick

PO Box 728, Bellport, NY 11713


Bellport, NY 11/1/05 New Yorkers considering their Election Day choices should take a pass on the proposed constitutional amendment changing the budget process, according to the Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY). The amendment would shift budgetary power in the event of a late budget to the legislature from the Governor. The Libertarians say the real budget problem is that New York State and the local governments borrow, spend and tax too much. Libertarians also fault both the state and federal governments for mandating spending. "Any budget amendment that does not remove the institutional bias towards spending by state and local governments is an exercise in futility and a trick," said former LPNY Chair Richard Cooper, who studied public finance at Columbia University.

The Libertarians note that the contingency budget does not cut spending at all. "Given the lack of competition for most legislative seats and the compulsive vote-buying with taxpayers money the legislators do, it is optimistic to look to the legislators for restraint," observes Cooper. While the Libertarians aren’t too keen on Pataki or Spitzer, they feel that it is easier to hold one person accountable than scads of legislators. Currently, legislators have their pay docked if the budget is late. The amendment would eliminate that penalty.

The current LPNY chair John Clifton, a Queens social worker and drug counselor, contends that "The legislature is supposed to be the closest to the public and thus the most accountable. But in New York politics, it’s upside down as only the Governor’s race is consistently competitive. Most pork-barrel plundering Assembly members and Senators are insulated from losing their cushy jobs. Under no circumstances should these cash-sucking vampires be given the credit card to spend and borrow even more."