New York State of Mind

Should states be bailed out by the feds?
New taxes, deep cuts to education and health care, and a restructuring of the state's economic development programs will be hallmarks of Gov. David Paterson's first budget plan to be released in two days, according to interviews of people briefed on components.
One of the good things about bad times is that corrections are made to make spending habits match up better to reality.
The plan will come with a host of revenue raisers — increased taxes on hospitals and insurance policies, for instance — and at least one new assessment, a so-called obesity tax on non-diet soda to raise $404 million.
If you've got a rich daddy who's always sending a check when the crunch comes, how do you ever learn to live a responsible fiscal life?
The governor also is contemplating requiring new license plates to raise cash, reviving sales tax on clothing purchases, removing the tax cap on gasoline and threatening to require Indian retailers to collect taxes on sales to non-Indians by signing into law a bill passed earlier this year by the Legislature.
Call me twisted, but the idea of Democrats being forced to cut spending warms my heart.
Paterson will unveil the spending plan, aimed at closing a $12.5 billion deficit for next year, on Tuesday. The total size of the Paterson budget is unknown.
The more Democrats are forced to cut, the better off we'll be. The more money Washington gives to the states, the more we'll be kicking the can down the road.
The cuts will be across the board and will build upon a deficit reduction plan Paterson proposed in November as he attempted to close the $1.5 billion shortfall in the $120 billion budget negotiated for this year. The plan was inherited from the executive budget introduced last January by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
When it comes to holding the line on donations to economic malfeasance by the states, the odds are pretty strong that the Obama administration will do the wrong thing.
The governor has contemplated instituting a different pension system for new employees, but the so-called Tier 5 program may not make it to the budget. He is also expected to reiterate a call for greater health care payments from retirees and the closure of some juvenile detention facilities.
One of the things that has to happen if we're ever going to fix our local and state governments is fixing the pension/benefits programs given to government workers.