Surpluses… but not for taxpayers, unless Bloomberg acts by Nicole Gelinas |  | NY Torch

New York City's current budget is an object lesson in why too much money is just as serious a problem as too little. New York ended the last fiscal year with $3.8 billion more than it expected to spend. . . but while taxpayers historically have borne tax-rate hikes to fund the city's predictable cyclical deficits, they will not see tax cuts due to the current record surplus, unless Mayor Bloomberg takes advantage of this temporary boom time. . . [Read_more]

Gotham’s spending continues to outpace inflation, economy—and sure deficits loom by Nicole Gelinas |  | NY Torch

New York's newly adopted city budget for fiscal 2006 calls for a 7.5 percent spending increase, well above the rate of inflation or growth in the city's economy. Under the four municipal budgets adopted since Michael Bloomberg became mayor in 2002, city spending has risen at more than twice the inflation rate. Relative to New Yorkers' personal income, city operating expenditures in the year ahead will be significantly higher than the average during Rudolph Giuliani's tenure in the mayor's office. [Read_more]

Pension Watch ’06: The Sweetening Continues by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Seemingly oblivious to the already high and rising cost of taxpayer-funded public pensions in New York, state lawmakers this year passed at least 36 measures that would expand pension benefits for groups of public workers. [Read_more]

More STAR in New York’s Future? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With school property taxes continuing to rise across New York State, Albany's leading Republicans are pushing for a major expansion of the STAR (School Tax Relief) program in the next state budget. But more STAR spending will do nothing to reduce New York's oppressive state and local tax burden. Instead, it will promote faster growth in school spending and property tax levies unless it is tied to a firm cap on school district budgets or taxes. [Read_more]

FINAL PATAKI BUDGET: SPEND NOW, CUT TAXES LATER by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With school property taxes continuing to rise across New York State, Albany's leading Republicans are pushing for a major expansion of the STAR (School Tax Relief) program in the next state budget. But more STAR spending will do nothing to reduce New York's oppressive state and local tax burden. Instead, it will promote faster growth in school spending and property tax levies unless it is tied to a firm cap on school district budgets or taxes. [Read_more]

But Remember: It’s All for The Kids | NY Torch

In a single recent 12-month period, the state's largest teachers' union spent $150 million on itself, according to a new study by the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability.

FERA understandably found it hard to resist linking the "lavish" spending habits of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) with the union's perennial demand for more state education spending. [Read_more]

Paterson OK’s unionization of home-based child care providers by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

On October 4, Governor Paterson signed S.7451/A.10764, a bill that allows home-based child care providers to unionize -- adding more than 65,000 child care providers to the already powerful Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Paterson's signature codifies... [Read_more]

Legislators Still Aim to Sweeten Public Pensions by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The employer share of pension contributions in New York has risen by more than $3 billion in the last five years, straining taxpayers throughout the state. Yet state legislators this year have passed dozens of bills—and introduced literally hundreds of others—that would further expand the already generous retirement benefits of government workers. [Read_more]

Private Property and “Public Use” in NY | NY Torch

New York State and New York City were pushing the envelope on "public use" condemnations of private property to benefit other private owners even before the practice was ratified in a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision last week.

The Kelo ruling provides more than enough justification for a careful reconsideration of eminent domain and its uses by the UDC and other government agencies in New York. Will any of our elected officials take the hint? Stay tuned.
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