Monday, December 28, 2009

New York Legislature leaves taxpayers seeking solutions to inaction

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported about New Yorkers frustration with the Legislature's failure to craft a long-term state financial plan this past year.

Caps on property taxes and state spending, reforms to campaign finance and ethics laws never came to be, but new taxes and fees did.

"We have sold our soul to people who can strictly bring home the bacon and run up the debt," said Mark Vahey, 68, of Canandaigua. "We're pawns in their game. That does make me angry."

The ways of Albany have long been a source of frustration for New Yorkers, who, along with New Jerseyans, pay the highest property taxes in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.

The level of discontent seems to have increased, however, as state finances have crumbled and a leadership crisis has left lawmakers' important work, from dealing with a projected three-year $28 billion budget deficit to policing themselves, unfinished.

A Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month found that just 17 percent of New York voters approve of state lawmakers' performance.

A September Voice of the Voter poll of Monroe County voters pegged approval of the Senate at 14 percent and the Assembly at 15 percent.

"At a certain level, New Yorkers wanting to tear their hair out of their head is completely understandable," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

The Democrat and Chronicle received 32 responses from voters frustrated with Albany after a request for comments was published. Some of those voters' views are included in this story, as are the views of voters who were sought out for their opinions. Read more here.

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