By Mike Sigler
I hear a lot of talk about bipartisanship but rarely do I see it in practice. I usually see it as a ploy to convince people that your motives are pure and more often than not, as a way to mask your intention of getting those with your point of view elected. I give you the example of John McCain. In death, he’s revered as a statesman, the best of the nation. When he ran for president, national Democrats called him a Nazi, a warmonger who wanted to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. A local group, Trailblazers, claims to be bipartisan, and yet, I have yet to see them support a Republican.
This brings us to this year’s elections in New York State. It’s widely perceived that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration is mired in corruption. He routinely denigrates republicans and progressives alike and at least in Tompkins, is regularly castigated by local Democratic leaders. But, there is a way to put New York State on a different, better path this year, away from the policies that so many in Tompkins County rail against. That path forward lies in a vote for Marc Molinaro for governor.
Marc is the current county executive in Dutchess County. He knows county issues, knows the pain of New York State property taxes. He is from Upstate, but understands New York City’s unique issues, making revitalizing the Mass Transit Authority, an area of constant complaint against Governor Cuomo by NYC residents and commuters, one of his key issues.
New York State government has seen its share of corruption with convictions of some of Cuomo’s high-level associates, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Cuomo was there for it all, putting up a smokescreen in the form of the toothless Moreland commission. Marc has a real plan to fight corruption.
When we talk about bipartisan ideas: Marc supports term limits, seeing that power of incumbency has only fed the system of corruption and supports giving voters the ability to put an issue up for a vote as a referendum. Marc supports independent redistricting. He wants more transparency in government, creating a searchable database for all of the state’s economic development projects listing all of their benefits and subsidies. Marc wants an independent auditor to review all state government contracts and will fight to empower the committee on open government to enforce, extend and strengthen the freedom of information and open meetings laws.
Marc will end the governor’s slush funds also known as lump sum appropriations. Currently, there is no transparency in how this more than 10 billion dollars is spent. That’s wrong and Marc has laid down the marker to stop it. You’ll know where your tax dollars go. Unlike Cuomo, Marc wants you to know how your money is being spent on economic development. In conjunction with the database, Marc will create a unified economic development budget, outlining where the money comes from and goes. He would also end the practice of direct grant funding to private corporations, redirecting that money to job training, regulation reform, and education.
I hear often about there being too much money in politics and Marc is ready to take that on too. He will ban contributions from individuals and entities seeking government contracts. Marc will close the LLC loophole which allows LLC’s to spend more than $60,000 on a statewide candidate, a loophole fix that’s already passed the Assembly with bipartisan support. The limit for LLCs would be reduced to the same as corporations.
Marc would restart the Moreland Commission to root out public corruption, but unlike Cuomo, he would not pull the plug before the commission’s work is done. He would establish an independent ethics oversight commission. He would strengthen the state ethics law, making sexual harassment a violation.
These are concrete actions that would change the state, just as Marc’s support for a state takeover of Medicaid payments would change the state’s tax formula. Today, your property taxes pay a sizable percentage of Medicaid expenses, the only state that does that. Marc would fix that, and lower your property taxes. He’s served at the Town level, being elected Mayor of Tivoli at just 19-years-old, the state level in the Assembly and at the County level. He knows your problems because they are also his problems.
I’ve heard everything I’ve listed above as positions supported by my liberal, progressive, and democratic friends. Democratic supporters of the governor would like to claim these issues as their own, but Cuomo has decided not to go in any of these directions. Will that translate into New York’s Democratic voters crossing the aisle to vote for Marc? If they want those changes, I hope so.
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