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A Peach Supreme





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  posted on 3/14/2012 at 08:33 PM




NY Suicide Caucus Votes Down Cuomo Pension Reform


If you needed more proof that arithmetic-deficient politicians and dysfunctional government are largely to blame for the disastrous state of New York’s finances, Albany Democrats have just supplied it.

New York’s Assembly Democrats have voted down Governor Cuomo’s pension reform plan, hammering yet another nail into the state’s financial coffin. The Assembly refused Cuomo’s suggestion to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 even though the governor stressed that his plan would save hundreds of billions of dollars in costs toward a pension plan expected to consume 35 percent of the government’s budget by 2015. In 2001, it was 3 percent.

Cuomo is a canny politician and is vested with strong executive powers; he has hinted that he may still push his plan through by forcing a government shutdown and implementing pension reform by supra-legislative means. But his common sense – he makes his case by explaining that without pension reform, now, thousands of public employees will be laid off, once the state’s funds run dry – isn’t enough to keep New York’s legislature focused on the needs of the people they allegedly serve.

Wars against arithmetic don’t end well
H/T Via Media

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/14/2012 at 10:26 PM
Ahhh, the beauty of cooperative, understand pubic sector unions.

Here's a perspective on the problem...

quote:
What Public Employee Unions are Doing to Our Country

MANY SCHOLARS ARE better versed on the history of public employee unions than I am, but there is one credential I can claim that they cannot: I am a taxpayer in the People’s Republic of New Jerseystan. That makes me an authority on how public sector unions—especially at the state and local level—are thwarting economic growth, strangling the middle class, and generally hijacking the democratic process to serve their own ends rather than the public.

Now in my experience, when one says the words “New Jersey,” people for some reason think it is a laugh line. Perhaps you know us from The Sopranos or Jersey Shore. You might think that such a state has nothing to teach you. If so, you would be very wrong. New Jersey offers something that can profit the entire nation: We are the perfect bad example.

As conservatives, of course, we believe in virtue. We like to point to policies and practices that work—low taxes and light regulation for the economy, a strong national defense to keep us safe from foreign attack, and social policies that favor community over government. These are all valuable. But the bad example has its honored place as well: It’s how we illustrate our warnings.

As parents, for example, selling virtue only takes us so far. To make our point when we see a character trait we don’t care for in our kids, we’re far more likely to say something like, “You don’t want to grow up to be like Uncle Bob, do you?”

This is the reason Governor Chris Christie’s reforms have had such resonance. Almost anywhere he points, he has before him an example of how New Jersey’s bloated public sector is hurting growth, limiting the efficiency of government services, and squeezing middle class families. How many state governors and legislators might be more inclined to do the right thing if before they acted they first said to themselves, “We don’t want to be like New Jersey, do we?”

These days, when conservatives get together to discuss the debilitating role played by government workers, we reassure ourselves with statements by FDR and labor leader Samuel Gompers about the fundamental incompatibilities between a union of private workers working for a private company and a union of government workers laboring for our city, state, or federal governments. We also trace the line of expansion to various events, including John F. Kennedy’s executive order that opened the path for collective bargaining for public employees at the federal level.

I don’t want to rehash that today. Today I want to talk about the situation as we find it, and suggest that the first step toward a cure is to diagnose the illness accurately. This means changing the way we think of public sector unions. And in what I have to say, I will concentrate on public sector unions at the state and local levels.

It’s not that I don’t consider the unionization of federal workers to be an issue. Plainly it is an issue when the teachers unions represent one of the largest blocs of delegates at Democratic conventions, when the largest single campaign contributor in the 2010 elections was the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, when union money at the federal level goes at an overwhelming rate to Democratic candidates, and when the Congressional Budget Office tells us that federal employees earn more than their counterparts in the private sector. Nonetheless, I believe that the greater challenge today—to state and city finances, to democratic representation, to the middle class—is at the state and local level. This is partly because state and city unions have the power to negotiate wages and benefits that their counterparts at the federal level largely do not. More fundamentally, it is because we cannot reform at the federal level without correcting a problem that is bringing our cities and states to bankruptcy.

When I say we need to change our understanding, what I mean is that we have to recognize that public sector unions have successfully redefined key relationships in our economic and civic life. In making this argument, I will suggest that the elected politicians who represent us at the negotiating table are not in fact management, that our taxing and spending decisions at the city and state level are in practice decided by our public sector contracts, and that when you put this all together, what emerges is a completely different picture of the modern civil servant. In short, we work for him, not the other way around.


Who is Managing Whom?

Let me start with the relationship between government employee unions and our elected officials. On paper, it is true, mayors and governors sit across the table from city and state workers collectively bargaining for wages and benefits. On paper, this makes them management—representing us, the taxpayers. But in practice, these people often serve more as the employees of unions than as their managers. New Jersey has been telling here. Look at our former governor, Jon Corzine.

You Hillsdale folks are a genteel sort. When you speak about the unions being in bed with the Democratic politicians, you mean it metaphorically. In New Jersey, we take it to Snooki levels: Mr. Corzine once shared a home with the New Jersey leader of the Communication Workers of America, Carla Katz. Back when he was running for governor, he was asked whether that relationship would compromise his ability to represent the taxpayers in negotiations with outfits such as CWA. “As the governor,” Mr. Corzine responded, “you represent eight-and-a-half million people. You don’t represent one union. You don’t represent one person. You represent the people who elected you.”

That’s the way it ought to be. In real life, it turned out that during heated negotiations over a contested CWA contract, Mr. Corzine and Ms. Katz had a long email chain—subsequently published by the Newark Star Ledger, despite the governor’s legal attempts to keep them private—in which she pressed him on the union issues.

But it wasn’t just the CWA. Scarcely six months after he was elected, Governor Corzine appeared before a rally of state workers in Trenton in support of a one percent sales tax designed to bring in revenues to a state hemorrhaging money. Not cutbacks, but a tax. Naturally, Mr. Corzine’s solution was the one the public sector unions wanted: Get the needed revenues by introducing a new tax.

The twist was that there was someone in the New Jersey government who understood the problem—who understood that a new sales tax wouldn’t do much to fix New Jersey’s problems, and that the only way to get a handle on them was to get state workers to start contributing more to their health care and pensions.

These were the pre-Chris Christie days, so the author of this bold proposal was the Senate president, Stephen Sweeney. Mr. Sweeney is not only interesting because he is a prominent and powerful Democrat. He is also interesting because in addition to his political office, he represents the state’s ironworkers. And what Mr. Sweeney proposed for the public sector unions was something private union members such as his ironworkers already paid for. It was also common sense: He knew that if New Jersey didn’t get a handle on its gold-plated pay and benefits for its government employees, it would squeeze out the private sector that hires people such as ironworkers.

If the leader of an ironworkers union could realize that, surely so could a governor who had earlier served as a high-powered executive for Goldman Sachs. But Mr. Corzine was having none of it. Instead, he told the crowd of state workers: “We’re gonna fight for a fair contract.”

The question is, whom was he planning on fighting? Wasn’t he management in these negotiations?

Six months later, Governor Corzine proved this was not simply a slip of the tongue. When workers at Rutgers University were planning to unionize, he turned up at their rally. This was too much even for the liberal Star Ledger, which—in an article entitled “Jon Corzine, Union Rep?”—noted that Mr. Corzine’s appearance at the rally raised the question whether he truly understood that “he represents the ‘management’ side in ongoing contract talks with state employees unions.”

Manifestly, the problem is not that Mr. Corzine and other elected leaders like him—mostly Democrats—do not understand. In fact, they understand all too well that they are the hired help. The public employees they are supposed to manage in effect manage them. The unions provide politicians with campaign funds and volunteers and votes, and the politicians pay for what the unions demand in return with public money.

In New Jersey as elsewhere, most leaders of public sector unions are not sleeping with the politicians who set their salary and benefits. They are, however, doing all they can to install and keep in office those they wish—while fighting hard against the ones they oppose. And until we recognize the real master in this relationship, we will never reform the system.


The Tail Wagging the Dog

My second point relates to my first. Not only have the public unions too often become the dominant partner in the relationship with elected officials, but the contracts and the spending that goes with them are setting the other policy agenda. In other words, even when we recognize that the packages favored by public employees are too generous, we think of them simply as spending items. We need to wake up and recognize that in fact these spending items are the tail wagging the dog—that they set tax and borrowing decisions rather than follow from them.

Take the case of Northvale, a small, affluent town of about 4,600 people at the northeast tip of New Jersey. Its median income is about $99,000, comfortably above both the New Jersey and national levels, and its budget is $21.8 million. Of this, $13.2 million—or nearly two-thirds—goes to the schools. The lion’s share of that, of course, goes to salaries and benefits.

Northvale’s school budget is voted on in the spring. That’s part of the scam, because turnout for these elections is much lower than it is in November for the regular elections. With lower turnout, it’s easier for teachers and other interested parties to dominate the elections. Thus the great bulk of Northvale’s budget is not determined in the regular elections, or by the mayor and city council. Effectively, it is determined by the education lobby and school officials—who in turn are chosen in elections involving only 20 percent of the electorate.

From the other one-third of the budget, Northvale has to run its police force and fire department, remove snow, arrange for garbage pickup, and so on. That means there is not much discretionary spending left. Even when voters rebel—last spring Northvale voters overwhelmingly repudiated the budget—they are frequently ignored, and the back door system ensures there is little in the way of accountability.

But there are consequences: This dynamic helps explain why, in the decade before Chris Christie was elected governor, the property taxes of New Jersey residents went up 70 percent.

Mr. Christie is not in charge of local spending. But he understands that this is part of an exceptionally unvirtuous circle. So he’s made some changes. Last year, for instance, with the help of allies such as Mr. Sweeney, he pushed a reform through the legislature that required public workers to start contributing to their health care and up their contributions to their pensions. It’s not nearly the same percentage as their counterparts in the private sector, but it’s a start.

Mr. Christie also put through a property tax cap that forces cities to go to the people for a vote if they increase property taxes by more than two percent. And just last month, he signed a bill that will allow towns to move their school budget votes to the November ballot—not only saving money, but also ensuring that more citizens vote, not simply those who have a vested interest.

At the same time, Mr. Christie has begun to campaign against abuses using language that people can understand. His most recent target is the practice of awarding six-figure checks to public employees who are allowed to accumulate—and cash out—unused sick pay. In New Jersey these payments are called “boat money,” largely because retired government workers often use the money to buy pleasure boats when they retire. Across the state, cities have liabilities of $825 million because of these boat checks.

And what’s been the opposition’s response? Instead of agreeing to reasonable cuts, the Democrats keep thumping for a millionaire’s tax. New Jersey being New Jersey, the millionaire’s tax aims at people making far less than a million dollars. But even if it didn’t, it’s hard to see how driving millionaires out of the state will help it meet its huge and growing unfunded pension liabilities.

To summarize my second point: You and I make spending decisions the way all households do. We take our income, and we live within our means. In sharp contrast, public employee unions have introduced a whole new dynamic: They negotiate pay and benefits in contracts we can’t rewrite. When the revenues to meet these obligations fall short, they push to raise taxes to make up the difference.


The Corruption of Public Service

That leads me to my third and final point: If I am right that the public employee unions are in fact the managers in the relationship with politicians, and that public sector spending is driving tax and borrowing policy, the inescapable conclusion is that you and I are working for them.

That’s not how we usually understand and speak of public service. Traditionally, the idea of a public servant is someone who is working for the public, with the implication that he or she is sacrificing a better material life to do so. But can anyone really define today’s relationship this way? Especially when health care and pensions are included, government workers increasingly seem to live better than the people who pay their salaries. How many of you walk into some local, state or federal office these days and leave thinking, “The men and women here are working for me”?

In some ways the change has been driven by larger changes in union life. From one out of three workers at its high point in the 1950s, today fewer than one out of 14 private sector workers belongs to a union, and the percentage continues to drop. Conversely, the unionization of government employees continues to grow, to the point where public sector union members now outnumber their private sector counterparts for the first time in American history.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fred Siegel notes that public sector unions have become a vanguard movement within liberalism. And the reason for that is it’s the public sector that comes closest to the statist ideals of McGovern and post-McGovern liberals. And that is, there’s no connection between effort and reward. You’re guaranteed your job. You’re guaranteed your salary increase. There’s a kind of bureaucratic equality.

“This vanguard,” Siegel continues, “becomes in the eyes of many liberals the model for the middle class. Public-sector unions are what all workers should be like. Their benefits are the kind of benefits everyone should get.” So instead of the private sector defining the public, the public sector is thought to define the private.

As public employees unionize, their dues—often collected for the unions by the government—fund a permanent interest constantly lobbying for bigger government. To pay for this bigger and more expensive government, they advocate for higher taxes on those in the private sector. Only when they are threatened with layoffs are they inclined to compromise, and sometimes not even then. That is what I mean when I say that we work for them.


Where to Go From Here

One of the few silver linings of our tough economy today is that it is forcing tough decisions. Big city mayors and governors are having issues with their public employees, because we’ve reached a point where we simply cannot afford business as usual. With a sluggish economy—and fewer taxpayers—the problems that have piled up are becoming too difficult to ignore.

Across the nation we have governors and mayors trying to solve their public employee problems with varying degrees of seriousness, from Chris Christie in New Jersey to Jerry Brown in California to the great experiments going on in the Rust Belt—in Indiana, which has done the best, and Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. Only Illinois, led by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, has opted for business as usual with a mammoth tax increase that is now being followed up, in today’s typical way of Democratic governance, with tax breaks for large companies threatening to leave Chicago because of the tax burden.

In most of these places, there’s probably little we can do about the contracts that exist. What we can do is bring in new hires under more reasonable contracts and pro-rate contributions for existing employees. Even marginal changes can have a big impact, as Wisconsin found out when Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining reforms for public workers helped restore many of the state’s school districts back to fiscal health.

My father was a federal employee, as an FBI agent. I spent some time as a government worker in the White House. I also know many fine and devoted people on the public payroll who work hard, are good at what they do, and earn everything they get. But there are also those who work without results. I believe Americans are a generous people who can recognize the difference. We need to restore our public sector to a place where those in charge can make those distinctions and allocate rewards and resources accordingly.

In the meantime, I think the best thing we can do is speak honestly. That is what Mr. Christie is doing in New Jersey. His style isn’t for everyone. Yet his popularity suggests that Americans appreciate a politician willing to talk about the reality of public employee unions today—and the unreasonable costs they are imposing on our society.

We’ll never return to the ideal of public service until the rest of us start speaking honestly as well.

http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp


 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 3/14/2012 at 10:56 PM
Once again, Public Workers and their unions are being used as convenient scapegoats for various states' fiscal problems. In the case of New York, Ralph Nader has offered an alternative to solving the state's fiscal problems. He wrote a letter to Andrew Cuomo saying that "there is a simple way to eliminate the $10 billion state deficit and prevent tens of thousands of layoffs and large service cutbacks: The Stock Transfer Tax."

Read Ralph's letter to Andrew Cuomo here:
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/letter-to-governor-elect-and rew-cuomo-regarding-a-stock-transfer-tax-by-ralph-nader/

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/14/2012 at 11:04 PM
New York has tried the Stock Transfer Tax before. It was repealed during the horrific financial crisis New York faced in the 70's.

It was killing jobs.

 

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  posted on 3/14/2012 at 11:42 PM
quote:
New York has tried the Stock Transfer Tax before. It was repealed during the horrific financial crisis New York faced in the 70's.

It was killing jobs.


Whose jobs were lost and how many jobs did it kill?

I'll definitely give props to Mr. Cuomo since he did push to raise taxes on NY's wealthy. He definitely got it right there.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/andrew-cuomo-tax-plan-to-_n_113260 6.html

[Edited on 3/15/2012 by woodsdweller]

 

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  posted on 3/15/2012 at 12:17 PM
quote:
quote:
New York has tried the Stock Transfer Tax before. It was repealed during the horrific financial crisis New York faced in the 70's.

It was killing jobs.


Whose jobs were lost and how many jobs did it kill?

I'll definitely give props to Mr. Cuomo since he did push to raise taxes on NY's wealthy. He definitely got it right there.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/andrew-cuomo-tax-plan-to-_n_113260 6.html

[Edited on 3/15/2012 by woodsdweller]


Wall Street and the Stock trading industry provides an extremely disporportionate amount of New York's tax base. NOTHING is keeping this industry within the City or the State. Raising a tax on each transaction would without question lead to the departure of the industry to the greener pastures of Connecticut or New Jersey. This would leave New York floating dead in the water. Just check out upstate New York to see what happens when industry departs a state due to the cost and burden of doing business. Nader's plan is what is known as "killing the goose that laid the golden eggs."

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 07:56 AM
quote:
quote:
quote:
New York has tried the Stock Transfer Tax before. It was repealed during the horrific financial crisis New York faced in the 70's.

It was killing jobs.


Whose jobs were lost and how many jobs did it kill?

I'll definitely give props to Mr. Cuomo since he did push to raise taxes on NY's wealthy. He definitely got it right there.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/andrew-cuomo-tax-plan-to-_n_113260 6.html

[Edited on 3/15/2012 by woodsdweller]


Wall Street and the Stock trading industry provides an extremely disporportionate amount of New York's tax base. NOTHING is keeping this industry within the City or the State. Raising a tax on each transaction would without question lead to the departure of the industry to the greener pastures of Connecticut or New Jersey. This would leave New York floating dead in the water. Just check out upstate New York to see what happens when industry departs a state due to the cost and burden of doing business. Nader's plan is what is known as "killing the goose that laid the golden eggs."


Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river? The millionaires who control Wall Street would leave their posh digs in Manhattan and elsewhere because their customers would now pay a few more dollars per year to trade stocks? I suppose it's possible but I just don't see it.

The real pension reform that should have taken place, but requires a bit more leadership and compromise beyond three guys in a back room in Albany, should have been that of reforming the CURRENT pension system. As an individual who is a near 20 year Tier 4 member of the NYS Teachers Retirement system, I can tell you first hand that there's plenty of reform needed across all the systems (NY has four other systems besides the particular one I believe this new deal actually "reforms") currently in place and across all tiers within those systems. What Cuomo and the Legislature have done is typical of politicians, just kick the can down the road and make future employees carry the burden.

Let me give you some examples:

1) Alll current employees, no matter what tier, must return to paying 3% contributions until the day they retire.

2) Accrued sick time, vacation time, overtime will NOT be utilized in determining the final average salary

3) Vested after 10 years and not the current 5

4) Minimum retirement age should be equalized across all systems....Firefighters and Police systems will not be allowed to retire with full benefits after only 20 years service.

5) Elected officials, and employees of quasi state authorities or agencies are not eligible for pension membership.

6) For the sake of final average salary determination, no member of any system shall be allowed to exceed a salary of $175,000 in that determination.

To be fair, such reforms would require changing the state constitution. Which is why I mentioned that such an endeavor would require a bit more leadership, hard work, nuance, political capital, etc....



[Edited on 3/16/2012 by Chain]

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 08:33 AM
quote:
Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river?
A couple of cents each on the billions and billions of trades that occur adds up quickly. And who really believes it would stay at some low rate for long. Once the taxing tool is in the hands of politicians, it's all they use, forgoing any spending discipline.

 

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uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 08:48 AM
quote:
quote:
Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river?
A couple of cents each on the billions and billions of trades that occur adds up quickly. And who really believes it would stay at some low rate for long. Once the taxing tool is in the hands of politicians, it's all they use, forgoing any spending discipline.


Exactly, Fuij. Because it's applied to billions and billions of trades, and it only amounts to a few additional cents on what are typically trades in the amount of several dollars,it's extremely affordable and barely noticeable to the average investor. I would have no problem paying such a miniscule additional tax on the trades I currently make.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 03:26 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river?
A couple of cents each on the billions and billions of trades that occur adds up quickly. And who really believes it would stay at some low rate for long. Once the taxing tool is in the hands of politicians, it's all they use, forgoing any spending discipline.
Exactly, Fuij. Because it's applied to billions and billions of trades, and it only amounts to a few additional cents on what are typically trades in the amount of several dollars,it's extremely affordable and barely noticeable to the average investor. I would have no problem paying such a miniscule additional tax on the trades I currently make.
I think it's the last two sentences of my reply that would be more concerning for the traders. Once established, nearly all govt programs only go one direction: bigger, larger, more expensive. NY would be playing with fire by adding such a tax, for the reasons Doug so accurately mentions. Should the market pull up stakes for greener pastures, NYC is in serious fiscal trouble. Balancing so much revenue on so few producers is an inherently unstable structure.

 

____________________
Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 03:33 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
New York has tried the Stock Transfer Tax before. It was repealed during the horrific financial crisis New York faced in the 70's.

It was killing jobs.


Whose jobs were lost and how many jobs did it kill?

I'll definitely give props to Mr. Cuomo since he did push to raise taxes on NY's wealthy. He definitely got it right there.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/andrew-cuomo-tax-plan-to-_n_113260 6.html

[Edited on 3/15/2012 by woodsdweller]


Wall Street and the Stock trading industry provides an extremely disporportionate amount of New York's tax base. NOTHING is keeping this industry within the City or the State. Raising a tax on each transaction would without question lead to the departure of the industry to the greener pastures of Connecticut or New Jersey. This would leave New York floating dead in the water. Just check out upstate New York to see what happens when industry departs a state due to the cost and burden of doing business. Nader's plan is what is known as "killing the goose that laid the golden eggs."


Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river? The millionaires who control Wall Street would leave their posh digs in Manhattan and elsewhere because their customers would now pay a few more dollars per year to trade stocks? I suppose it's possible but I just don't see it.

The real pension reform that should have taken place, but requires a bit more leadership and compromise beyond three guys in a back room in Albany, should have been that of reforming the CURRENT pension system. As an individual who is a near 20 year Tier 4 member of the NYS Teachers Retirement system, I can tell you first hand that there's plenty of reform needed across all the systems (NY has four other systems besides the particular one I believe this new deal actually "reforms") currently in place and across all tiers within those systems. What Cuomo and the Legislature have done is typical of politicians, just kick the can down the road and make future employees carry the burden.

Let me give you some examples:

1) Alll current employees, no matter what tier, must return to paying 3% contributions until the day they retire.

2) Accrued sick time, vacation time, overtime will NOT be utilized in determining the final average salary

3) Vested after 10 years and not the current 5

4) Minimum retirement age should be equalized across all systems....Firefighters and Police systems will not be allowed to retire with full benefits after only 20 years service.

5) Elected officials, and employees of quasi state authorities or agencies are not eligible for pension membership.

6) For the sake of final average salary determination, no member of any system shall be allowed to exceed a salary of $175,000 in that determination.

To be fair, such reforms would require changing the state constitution. Which is why I mentioned that such an endeavor would require a bit more leadership, hard work, nuance, political capital, etc....



[Edited on 3/16/2012 by Chain]


New York has been remarkably unhospitable to business which creates private jobs for many decades. I'm sure you realize this as company after company has been driven out of New York which is still anachronistically known as the Empire State. Regarding pension reform (And I am also a tier IV member) Certainly you see that even getting the legislature to pass (And Union's to approve) the mere closing of a tier which has existed for more than 35 years and making minor adjustments to the benefits and obligations of future employees was the equivalent of a colonoscopy without anesthesia. And even this would not have passed had the situation not been SO dire and Cuomo STILL had to fight off mega opposition from Sheldon Silver and the Unions. The idea of amending the state constitution so as to retroactively take away benefits or add obligations to existing and past workers, even if I agreed with it, is inconceivable under any circumstance.

 

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  posted on 3/16/2012 at 09:39 PM
Elected officials are supposed to be higher than average in intelligence, at least you would hope so. However, they seem to get pretty dim when it comes to working out fiscal problems.

Invariably, the answer is to raise taxes or institute some new tax. They might be smart, but apparently not smart enough to realize that taxation effects behavior. Always has and always will.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/19/2012 at 02:22 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
Really now, a couple cents tax on every trade would drive Wall Street across the river?
A couple of cents each on the billions and billions of trades that occur adds up quickly. And who really believes it would stay at some low rate for long. Once the taxing tool is in the hands of politicians, it's all they use, forgoing any spending discipline.
Exactly, Fuij. Because it's applied to billions and billions of trades, and it only amounts to a few additional cents on what are typically trades in the amount of several dollars,it's extremely affordable and barely noticeable to the average investor. I would have no problem paying such a miniscule additional tax on the trades I currently make.
I think it's the last two sentences of my reply that would be more concerning for the traders. Once established, nearly all govt programs only go one direction: bigger, larger, more expensive. NY would be playing with fire by adding such a tax, for the reasons Doug so accurately mentions. Should the market pull up stakes for greener pastures, NYC is in serious fiscal trouble. Balancing so much revenue on so few producers is an inherently unstable structure.


Millions of people invest money via Wall Street and so the tax is spread across many, many "producers." And given we're talking cents per trade, it's exactly the opposite of what you're suggesting. That is to say, very affordable and hardly noticeable. It only generates billions per year precisely because there's many. many trades per year. This tax didn't run Wall Street out of town when it was in place, why should we assume it will now? The Stock Transfer tax was in place from 1907 to 1981 by the way.

[Edited on 3/19/2012 by Chain]

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 09:24 AM
quote:
New York has been remarkably unhospitable to business which creates private jobs for many decades.


Very true. Put the Wall Street gang aside for a moment and go back to the days of the Oak Beach Inn for those of you from the Long Island area. This was a place out in Babylon, off the Ocean Parkway, past Jones Beach. The owner bought the place with like $6000 in the late 60s. He battled the town, the state, etc constantly due to the taxes, cronyism and sometimes government corruption. He actually started hanging banners from the overpasses that read "Get Out of NY State Before Its Too Late". People have been taking his word lately.

Here is a link to an article from the NYT in 1993. Incidentally, despite one of the people in this article claiming he would never leave; he left and went to Florida and opened up shop there.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/07/nyregion/a-man-fights-red-tape-with-his-o wn-banners.html

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 10:10 AM
quote:
Millions of people invest money via Wall Street and so the tax is spread across many, many "producers." And given we're talking cents per trade, it's exactly the opposite of what you're suggesting.


But the vast percentage of trade volume is made by institutional investors. A 5-cent tax on every share they trade would amount to real money, money they could keep by moving to Connecticut or New Jersey.

 

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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 11:37 AM
quote:
quote:
New York has been remarkably unhospitable to business which creates private jobs for many decades.


Very true. Put the Wall Street gang aside for a moment and go back to the days of the Oak Beach Inn for those of you from the Long Island area. This was a place out in Babylon, off the Ocean Parkway, past Jones Beach. The owner bought the place with like $6000 in the late 60s. He battled the town, the state, etc constantly due to the taxes, cronyism and sometimes government corruption. He actually started hanging banners from the overpasses that read "Get Out of NY State Before Its Too Late". People have been taking his word lately.

Here is a link to an article from the NYT in 1993. Incidentally, despite one of the people in this article claiming he would never leave; he left and went to Florida and opened up shop there.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/07/nyregion/a-man-fights-red-tape-with-his-o wn-banners.html


I remember all the bumper stickers back in the 80's that read "Save the Oak Beach Inn." I used to like that place. Great Kereoke.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 12:51 PM
quote:
Millions of people invest money via Wall Street and so the tax is spread across many, many "producers." And given we're talking cents per trade, it's exactly the opposite of what you're suggesting. That is to say, very affordable and hardly noticeable. It only generates billions per year precisely because there's many. many trades per year. This tax didn't run Wall Street out of town when it was in place, why should we assume it will now? The Stock Transfer tax was in place from 1907 to 1981 by the way.


Best post in the entire thread.

Since Cuomo has just raised taxes on the wealthy in NY, I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"
of the wealthy bolting out of New York.

 

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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 01:23 PM

quote:
I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"of the wealthy bolting out of New York.


The old axiom on NY holds true: The time to live in New York is when you're young and poor, or old and rich. Otherwise, go live somewhere else. The middle class certainly are not staying, just go look at the US Census statistics. Funny how the people who have ruled the state legislature in NY for the better part of the three decades preach about how they love the middle class.


New York had more residents leave in the last decade than any other state. Over 1.5 million New Yorkers (plus their exemptions, 2 or 3 million more) moved out of state between 2000 and 2010. Those people took with them close to $100 billion in gross income. That is taxable, spendable, investable income. Gone.

I hope Gov. Cuomo isn't too late to turn things around.


 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 01:26 PM
quote:
quote:
Millions of people invest money via Wall Street and so the tax is spread across many, many "producers." And given we're talking cents per trade, it's exactly the opposite of what you're suggesting.


But the vast percentage of trade volume is made by institutional investors. A 5-cent tax on every share they trade would amount to real money, money they could keep by moving to Connecticut or New Jersey.


Like the institutional investors known as the NYS pension programs? Of which one fund alone, the NYS Teachers Retirement program, has a value in excess of $180 Billion. Do you think this institutional investor can't afford the peanuts in taxes we're talking about? Taxes that ironically could be used to actually increase the value of itself given the state pays into the fund, as do members (for the first 10 years of membership) and school districts? Do you see how it's in a sense paying itself by paying taxes on its trades. And as Warren Buffet himself has said countless times, people don't invest money because they're trying to avoid taxes. The same applies with institutional investors.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 01:30 PM
And by the way, the tax I'm suggesting is on every trade not every share. There's a significant difference between the two. For instance, the State Comptroller (who is the sole administrator of the state's pension funds by the way) decides to buy 2.5 million shares of Apple, Inc. in one trade. The pension fund pays cents for that one trade, not cents for each share they purchase in the actual trade. Very affordable, spread across all investors, and only creates large sums because there's millions upon millions of trades per day, every day, every year....

[Edited on 3/20/2012 by Chain]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 01:42 PM
quote:
New York had more residents leave in the last decade than any other state. Over 1.5 million New Yorkers (plus their exemptions, 2 or 3 million more) moved out of state between 2000 and 2010. Those people took with them close to $100 billion in gross income. That is taxable, spendable, investable income. Gone.



Yep. The exodus from New York has been news for a while. Duh! Plus gas is over a dollar more a gallon.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 3/20/2012 at 02:30 PM
quote:

quote:
I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"of the wealthy bolting out of New York.


The old axiom on NY holds true: The time to live in New York is when you're young and poor, or old and rich. Otherwise, go live somewhere else. The middle class certainly are not staying, just go look at the US Census statistics. Funny how the people who have ruled the state legislature in NY for the better part of the three decades preach about how they love the middle class.


New York had more residents leave in the last decade than any other state. Over 1.5 million New Yorkers (plus their exemptions, 2 or 3 million more) moved out of state between 2000 and 2010. Those people took with them close to $100 billion in gross income. That is taxable, spendable, investable income. Gone.

I hope Gov. Cuomo isn't too late to turn things around.




My actual question was if the wealthy are bolting due to Cuomo's CURRENT raising of taxes on the wealthy. I wasn't talking about what happened in NY in the last decade.
But since you brought up the subject......
A lot of the "middle-class exodus" from NY occurred on Republican George Pataki's watch, who was governor of NY until late 2006.

[Edited on 3/20/2012 by woodsdweller]

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/21/2012 at 07:48 AM
quote:
quote:

quote:
I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"of the wealthy bolting out of New York.


The old axiom on NY holds true: The time to live in New York is when you're young and poor, or old and rich. Otherwise, go live somewhere else. The middle class certainly are not staying, just go look at the US Census statistics. Funny how the people who have ruled the state legislature in NY for the better part of the three decades preach about how they love the middle class.




New York had more residents leave in the last decade than any other state. Over 1.5 million New Yorkers (plus their exemptions, 2 or 3 million more) moved out of state between 2000 and 2010. Those people took with them close to $100 billion in gross income. That is taxable, spendable, investable income. Gone.

I hope Gov. Cuomo isn't too late to turn things around.




My actual question was if the wealthy are bolting due to Cuomo's CURRENT raising of taxes on the wealthy. I wasn't talking about what happened in NY in the last decade.
But since you brought up the subject......
A lot of the "middle-class exodus" from NY occurred on Republican George Pataki's watch, who was governor of NY until late 2006.

[Edited on 3/20/2012 by woodsdweller]



Not only that, but it was Pataki who eliminated the 3% annual contribution to the pension fund by members once they reached ten years of membership. And why do you think he did that? Because the overall value of the fund was extremely high in comparison to its annual payout to retirees. And why was the fund value extremely high? Because the national economy, and more specifically, the stock market that forms the basis for its value, was doing very well overall. At present the NYS pension funds are still in relatively good financial shape and increasing in value as the market continues to rebound, despite the deepest and longest recession since the Great Depression.

The problem as some see it is that the State, local municipalities, school districts, and members themselves (again, due to Pataki's shortsightedness and political pandering to the unions) didn't pay that much into the fund during the boom years of the 90's when in fact they should have been all along. Now we have a situation where politicians are trying to gain political points by engaging is a half @ss effort at "reform" when it's a problem some of them help create. And notice they're pension benefits aren't a target for that reform.

As I said previous, reform is certainly needed to ensure the long term viability of the pension system, but it should be retroactive to all systems and all tiers, not some plan that kicks the can down the road 35 + years and has a great deal of assumptions about a lot of the variables. As NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said yesterday, the new tier VI plan provides no short term savings and even the proposed $80 billion savings suggested in the very distant future are big "ifs" and depend greatly on a number of factors we can't assume at present.

[Edited on 3/21/2012 by Chain]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/21/2012 at 11:29 AM
quote:
quote:
Millions of people invest money via Wall Street and so the tax is spread across many, many "producers." And given we're talking cents per trade, it's exactly the opposite of what you're suggesting. That is to say, very affordable and hardly noticeable. It only generates billions per year precisely because there's many. many trades per year. This tax didn't run Wall Street out of town when it was in place, why should we assume it will now? The Stock Transfer tax was in place from 1907 to 1981 by the way.


Best post in the entire thread.

Since Cuomo has just raised taxes on the wealthy in NY, I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"
of the wealthy bolting out of New York.


New York has been losing residents for decades. Industry and business outside of Wall Street is essentially defunct. Big companies have been leaving the state steadily for years and years. Others are bankrupt. New York is trying to support itself on an ever diminshing tax base.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/21/2012 at 11:31 AM
quote:
quote:

quote:
I'm wondering if the conservative posters in this thread can show me if there's currently a "mass-exodus"of the wealthy bolting out of New York.


The old axiom on NY holds true: The time to live in New York is when you're young and poor, or old and rich. Otherwise, go live somewhere else. The middle class certainly are not staying, just go look at the US Census statistics. Funny how the people who have ruled the state legislature in NY for the better part of the three decades preach about how they love the middle class.


New York had more residents leave in the last decade than any other state. Over 1.5 million New Yorkers (plus their exemptions, 2 or 3 million more) moved out of state between 2000 and 2010. Those people took with them close to $100 billion in gross income. That is taxable, spendable, investable income. Gone.

I hope Gov. Cuomo isn't too late to turn things around.




My actual question was if the wealthy are bolting due to Cuomo's CURRENT raising of taxes on the wealthy. I wasn't talking about what happened in NY in the last decade.
But since you brought up the subject......
A lot of the "middle-class exodus" from NY occurred on Republican George Pataki's watch, who was governor of NY until late 2006.

[Edited on 3/20/2012 by woodsdweller]


Pataki was a terrible governor. After his first term he was manhandled by the legislature as was Cuomo before him. This is not a Democrat/Republican thing. It is an institutional crisis in this state. Cuomo is not raising taxes on the wealthy. I don't know what you are referring to. There is no degree to which taxes can be raised that can save New York.

 

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