2008-01-11 / Letters

Interesting Smith Interview

Dear Editor,

The Wave's year-end interview and commentary with State Senator Malcolm Smith was very interesting. If momentum does indeed shift in the NY State Senate - although very, very unlikely - it would

be terrific having a

Rockaway rep managing state senate affairs. Senator Smith is certainly a talented, gifted and energetic guy, an exemplary example of a great Queens education.

The Senator must know, though, that while NYC prospers, NY State festers. The beast that our Empire State once was has been hog-tied... belly up with throat exposed.

The American Legislative Exchange Council just ranked New York State dead last in their 'Rich States, Poor States' competitiveness study. Even the Jets are better ranked!!! The council compared all 50 states for tax and debt burden, industry regulation and employment.

New Yorkers, for instance, pay twothirds more in state taxes than the average of all other US citizens. And, not only do we pay the highest tax, our Legislature further burdens us with borrowings...NY State's debt is second only to California. The Atlanta Fed reports "Relative marginal tax rates have a statistically significant negative relationship with relative state growth". No kiddin'.

It's not that our State Legislature has done too little. No, Albany has done far, far too much...too much tax; too many regs and mandates; unbridled corruption; intrusive, destabilizing over-regulation of our labor, management and insurance practices. I sincerely hope Senator Smith recognizes Albany for what it is and what it has done.

Alaska, notoriously, wastes hundred of millions on bridges to nowhere. New York State, according to investigative reporting by The New York Times, wastes billions yearly. For comparison purposes only, the value of recent Rockaway Peninsula construction is approximately a billion dollars...New York throws away more than that every year!!!

Novice skiers have a natural inclination to lean back when they lose control...exactly the opposite of what they should do. The natural inclination of NY State legislators is to make more laws, protect more people and more heavily regulate business... exactly the opposite of what they should be doin'. So, we pay more than almost all other Americans for gasoline, electricity, insurance...more to buy and drive our cars, power our businesses, fund our schools...all in the name of protection. Protection, I ask, for what and from whom...ourselves?

Two extreme examples:

Ole Tom Jefferson, among his awesome history-bending accomplishments, introduced grapes (viticulture) to northern Virginia. Yet New Yorkers are prohibited from ordering wine on-line from Virginian vineyards.... that is, until the US Supreme Court recently struck down NY's law as 'blasphemously' unconstitutional. You see, why should some 240 years of freedom and choice and the US Constitution get in the way of appeasing one or another local lobby groups in the halls of Albany's legislature?

New Yorkers - when purchasing their own health insurance - are required to be covered for psychiatric counseling. Why, I ask, so Harvey Keitel can pay for his shrink? Why can't I buy bare-bones coverage from, say, a California company?

Striking back, New Yorkers vote with their feet, seeking sustainability elsewhere. Due to proportional population decline since 1970, NY State has lost 10% of our representative voice in the US Congress. Our world-class colleges and universities import students from across the states and the globe. But, as Senator Smith knows so well, these enterprising men and women - upon graduation, or after a few years - leave for greener pastures. What a horrible waste of state education subsidies.

In years past Senator Smith has sought and won endorsement from NY's Conservative party. Hopefully he thinks like our blue-dog Democrats on Capitol Hill. If so, there is hope Senator Smith might fight the good fight to make New York less corrupt and more competitive; less expensive and more entrepreneurial; fostering fewer mindless, meddling bureaucrats and more strategicthinkin' managers, scientists and engineers. If, however, Senator Smith chooses to follow the path of his fellow Democrats in the NY State Assembly, our path to perdition will only grow more steep.

PETE STUBBEN

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