A Platform for a New NY
Fix the Culture of Corruption
Albany’s legacy of fraud, waste and corruption remains strong. Elected and economic development officials are clogging up New York’s court systems. 53 State elected officials, including two Governors, an Attorney General and a Comptroller, have been brought up on ethical or criminal charges since 2000, while promises of ethics reform fail to materialize.
Institutional corruption in Albany is supported through a two-party redistricting system that gerrymanders boundaries and restricts ballot access to maintain the status quo and limits choices. Voters in a functioning democracy pick their representatives, in New York, it’s the other way around. The results speak for themselves; voter turnout in New York is consistently among the lowest in the country.
The state’s ethics watchdog, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), is overseen by the very people they are charged with keeping an eye on. It is perhaps, no surprise that JCOPE has only investigated two of the fifteen legislators indicted since 2011.
SAM-NY candidates are dedicated to rooting out the bad behavior entrenched in both major parties and bringing systemic change to Albany’s culture of corruption.
Revitalize the New York State Economy
York State does not have a functioning economic development strategy. Economic development in New York is based on either pay-to-play tax credit giveaways that have engulfed the capitol in continuing investigations, or camera ready proposals of limited substantive value. Neither method has achieved results and a million New Yorkers have left the state since 2010 to seek opportunity elsewhere. Economic growth that has occurred in and around New York City may have boosted the state’s overall job numbers, but the reality is that at the same time, growth upstate lags at half the national rate.
- New York City and downstate suburban areas have generated 89% of New York State’s private-sector job growth since 2010.
- The Binghamton, Elmira and Watertown/Ft. Drum areas have seen a net loss of private jobs since 2010.
- In 2017, the metro areas of Elmira and Utica-Rome saw job opportunities decline.
- Total private employment in upstate metro areas has grown at less than half of both the NYS and US rate since 2010, and just over half the US rate in 2017.
As part of any economic growth plan, SAM is also dedicated to addressing must also address the state’s crumbling infrastructure. The lifeblood of our economy — our mass transit systems, roads, water, energy and internet services — are all in disrepair. Our economic growth trails the nation by nearly 50% and our infrastructure has a C- rating. New York will continue to bleed talent to other states if we remain a high tax state that fails ail to provide basic services.
- Approximately 100 bridges in New York State were closed in 2017 due to serious deficiencies.
- 28% of public roads are in poor condition, which costs motorists an extra $571 per year.
- o repair, replace, and update New York’s wastewater infrastructure would cost $36.2 billion over 20 years. New York’s wastewater funding program is simply insufficient to fulfill even half of this essential reinvestment..
- Water infrastructure needs investments of $40B over 20 years.
- Roads and bridges needs investments of $35.5B over 15 years.
- Dams needs investments of $267M.
- Parks needs investments of $1B over 10 years.
- Road paving needs investments of $40B over 20 years.
- Upstate mass transportation needs investments of an additional $577M/year.
- The MTA needs investments of at least $19B in the next 5 years.
SAM-NY believes New York needs a 62-County Economic Development plan that addresses our high cost status and plays on the strengths of regional economies to help foster markets for inclusive, thriving local communities.
Address New York’s High Cost of Living
According to several estimates, New York State residents have the highest tax burden in the country. State-level taxes high on their own, but Albany policy also results in high taxes on the local level. According to the Association of Counties, 99 percent of the property taxes levied by counties outside New York City are consumed by just nine state mandates. Albany lacks the political will to face difficult questions about its culture of spending, which puts undue pressure on local government and results in diminished services.
In addition to its impact on services, New Yoker’s high tax status makes it difficult to attract businesses and residents. New York ranks 49th out of 50 States in the relative value of the dollar. $100 in New York can buy just under $87 worth of goods compared to the national average. In Tennessee, where Alliance Bernstein recently moved 1,000 well-paying jobs, it’s worth $111. New York has a world-class labor pool of educated, experienced workers, but we are becoming less and less competitive with other regions of the country on a cost basis. New York’s powerful economy is slowing, while lower taxed states are booming — and it’s not because of the weather. It is because we have high costs imposed by our state government, and we get little in return. New York’s tax and regulation structure needs to be addressed to encourage growth across the State.
Improve Outcomes for New York’s Students
Families should choose New York State because of excellent public schools for children the best continuing education and training programs for adults. Unfortunately, that’s not the New York State we have. New York ranks 36th in the nation in percentage of residents with high school diplomas and only 17 states perform significantly worse than New York according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. New York has lagged in its opportunities for students and failed to carry out an education and training agenda that produces adults ready for a competitive workforce. Advocating for proactive solutions in these two areas will be the fundamental focus of SAM-NY.
Create Accountability and Reduce the Costs of Healthcare
New York is the only state in the country that forces its counties to share Medicaid costs, despite those counties having no control over the program. In the 57 counties outside New York City, these costs eat up an average of 40% of the property tax revenue.
Lax rules and poor oversight from Albany have pushed our state and county governments to the breaking point. New York spends as much on Medicaid as Texas and Pennsylvania combined and at S3,054 per capita, New York spends 76% above the national average and is the highest in the nation. Sadly, these costs not only have not resulted in better care for patients, the federal government currently ranks the quality of New York State’s hospitals the lowest in the country.
There is an urgent need address regulations that bury doctors in paperwork. Three national studies found that doctors are spending as much as half their day filing Electronic Medical Records (EMR), twice the amount they are spending with patients. EMRs have been made incredibly cumbersome with extra layers of complexity as the state, insurance companies and hospital administrators add new regulations. In 2018 alone, 133 mandate bills were introduced in the New York legislature. While each may have been presented to help patients, the result is a system that does the opposite.
SAM candidates will tackle our cumbersome regulations head-on in order to reduce our healthcare costs and improve the quality of care New Yorkers receive.