Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I question your underlying supposition that upstate would go bankrupt if not for the tax transfer. If you measured the subsidization of cheap energy for downstate (which is in the hundreds of millions) and then also unshackled the onerous mandates from upstate, this region would be a lot better off. For a $250,000 house up here, we pay $10,000 in property taxes, so this isn't a low-tax argument. The comparison to Mississippi is just wrong. They spend $1,150 per student in the schools. We spend $13,000 per student. I wasn't calling for an end to taxes. Rather, I was calling for an end to laws which are designed strictly for downstate conditions, and which present an undue burden on upstate citizens. In addition, the New York Power Authority sits on a lot of cheap energy which they give for free mainly to companies in New York city, though increasingly in Albany as well. Meanwhile, the profits from energy sales subsidize not only cheap electricity for NYC citizens (we pay more for electricity, and heating up here), as well as ALL New York City Public Housing. Look it up: that's subsidized by the power authority. So, we're talking about a city such as Buffalo, that receives tens of millions in downstate taxes, while the Western NY region sends hundreds of millions in energy credits downstate. Meanwhile, mandates on Medicaid and such--which are the most generous in the whole country--place an undue burden on localities up here that can't afford the 50% mandate.

As for social services upstate, why are they better downstate? I don't get that. The number one issue is housing. It's cheaper up here. Then food: it's also cheaper up here. Cars? We're talking about people receiving social services, living in the city, where they take public transport such as the subway or buses.  A 500 square foot apartment in New York City goes for $500k. Up here it goes for $50k, if that.

Between New York City and Mississippi there is a grand canyon of possibilities. Upstate would do much better which a different tax regime (I'm not even calling for lower taxes, just taxes that are distributed differently) and the ability to sell its natural resources locally.

by Upstate NY on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 05:16:37 PM EST
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