End of Session Apocalypse in Albany

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Monday, May 13th, 2019, 3:36 PM PERMALINK

The Empire State is in decline. It hasn’t been sacked by barbarians, but plundered from within by special interests looting taxpayer dollars.

Now, after passing a budget loaded with taxes and fees, legislators are pushing a dangerous, and unaffordable list of progressive priorities with a couple months left in New York’s legislative session.

That means single-payer socialized medicine is on the table in Albany. That, despite the fact it would cost $159 billion, which would nearly double the state’s already bloated budget.

The New York Health Act would eradicate private health insurance - far from giving people a choice in their health care, perhaps the most personal choice people have. And it would do so to help around 5 percent of New Yorkers who don’t have any insurance. When you consider some of them may not have insurance by choice, it makes it even more clear single payer is not about helping people who need insurance, but finding an excuse to put government in charge of a huge aspect of peoples’ lives.

A hearing is reportedly going to be held soon, though there is still resistance to the bill in the Senate, even though Democrats took over the chamber last election cycle.

Energy is already incredibly expensive in New York, at nearly 30 percent higher than the national average in February 2019. And that is with costs dipping since last year.

The state continues to make matters worse on energy. Governor Cuomo continues to block pipelines like Dikembe Mutombo blocked shots, halting the Williams pipeline recently. This is a blow to downstate, Long Island and New York City.

If that's not bad enough, legislation to impose a carbon tax is a threat in Albany.

A bill from Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D) would impose a $35 per ton tax on carbon which would rise to $185. In an acknowledgment of how regressive a carbon tax is, the legislation aims to pay most of the money to low-income residents to compensate for the cost of the tax - the rest of course would go to politically-connected renewables.

Americans for Tax Reform continues to track carbon tax proposals, and analyses. The tax would take a significant bite out of the economy, causing a loss in GDP unless all the revenue is used to reduce tax burdens.

Carbon taxes also continue to be political losers, with voters in the U.S. and Canada consistently rejecting carbon taxes when given the choice.

New York lawmakers are also considering a bill that would destroy family farms. Farm workers are not able to unionize and strike, and are exempted from certain labor rules like overtime because the nature of farming requires peak work periods.

Now, some lawmakers want to undo that, with a bill that would allow collective bargaining, and mandate overtime pay, called the Farm Labor Fair Practices Act.  This would impose crushing burdens on farms that already operate on thin margins, forcing them to engage in convoluted hiring practices to try to avoid new costs. Overtime pay alone is estimated to cost farms nearly $300 million (Farm Credit East).

Further, the “New York Farm Bureau, which opposes the legislation, say their farm workers do not want the 8-hour workday instituted because there are only limited times of the year when they can work.”

This, like the Department of Labor’s never-ending consideration of eliminating the tipped-wage credit, represents government doing workers a favor that they don’t want. Workers are smart enough to figure out that if government gets too involved in their industry, their jobs are at risk and they won’t make any money. Given that New York lost 9 percent of the state’s farms in five years, this proposal could be the final nail in the industry’s coffin.

Adding insult to injury, the bill is being pushed by a city politician, Queens Senator Jessica Ramos.

Also on the labor front, an absurd bill would let striking union workers immediately claim unemployment benefits, instead of after seven weeks. This would make taxpayers subsidize union strikes, instead of the unions themselves which would otherwise dish out strike pay.

According to Empire Center, “Other labor-friendly state governments—including California, Illinois, Washington, Ohio, Hawaii and Pennsylvania—all prohibit strikers from collecting any UI benefits.”

With government like this, it’s no wonder New York has lost not just taxpayers, but overall population in two of the past four years.

This session, the state legislature has already passed new tax and fee hikes, including a devastating new tax on pain medicine, and a tax on driving to work in the city. They’ve also senselessly banned shopping bags. Now, before the clock runs out, they’ll push for more damaging policies.

New York is in already in decline, and these damaging policies would make sure the Empire State falls for good.

Photo Credit: FEE.org

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