Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just What The NYS GOP Does Not Need

You've got a Buffalo-area businessman and Tea Party activist, Carl Paladino, who sends out racist and objectionable emails fast and furious. Heck, Paladino's email conduct was such that the Tea Party wants nothing to do with him and Paladino's spokes-flack complains that the Tea Party is a bunch of out-of-staters who have no vested interests in the state. I'm sure that will win over the crowds. *not*

Current Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who hasn't even declared himself a candidate for governor trounces any and all GOP candidates by a 2-1 or 3-1 margin.

It's at a point where even the lame-duck scandal-ridden Gov. David Paterson, who knows a thing or two about scandals, thinks that this is disgraceful - and he'd be right.

Then, you've got a politician who just switched party affiliations to the GOP, County Executive Steve Levy, and will be seen as a RINO by many upstaters. Other candidates have little name recognition.

That's just in the governor's race.

Then there's the race for the US Senate seat currently held by placeholder Kristen Gillibrand. It seems that there isn't anyone out there who wants to take on this vulnerable seat, despite the fact that Gillibrand has done next to nothing for the state since she took office after being selected by Gov. Paterson.

There isn't even any declared GOP candidate for the Attorney General's race.

It's little wonder that the state GOP is in complete disarray. Besides the inevitable blame game, signs that the state GOP in New York was a mess were omnipresent for years - going back to the Pataki administration and have only gotten worse since then. The situation got so bad that the state GOP completely botched the NY-23 House special election and raised the ire of many in the district, who decided to vote for the Democrat than the GOP-picked candidate Dede Scozzafava, who later dropped out of the race entirely.

So, how does the state GOP fix this mess? Well, the problems are everywhere, but the solution is also going to take time.

It starts with the realization that downstate politics is quite different than upstate needs but there is a common denominator - high costs for doing business in the state. Upstate is far more rural, conservative, and has seen far less development and economic opportunities than downstate, and there are no real industries or economic sectors that can carry upstate the way that the financial and media sectors do for downstate.

Finding candidates that are willing to go toe to toe over out-of-control state spending should be a top priority. State spending is completely out of control and the state budgets are a complete mess - both in terms of process (no on time budgets passed in all but six years since 1975) and that it has huge structural deficits due to overly optimistic revenue projections and reliance on Wall Street revenues to carry the day. The state's Democrats are pushing soda/sugar taxes, even though the purpose would be to raise revenue for new programs and when those taxes fail to meet their projected levels, drops those programs into deficit situations. Each new tax adds to an already crushing tax burden that sends people fleeing from the state and stifles new economic development.

The federal stimulus package masked massive deficits last year, and allowed legislators and the governor to avoid making serious decisions to cut state spending to bring spending in line with revenues. This year, there's no stimulus package to save the day - so the state is facing billions of dollars in deficits, and all manner of financial trickery is being considered that eventually translates into a higher cost of doing business in the state.

The GOP needs to focus on this situation and cultivate candidates who are going to tackle these problems from all levels of government. It has failed miserable for the better part of the last decade, which has all but ceded the Albany landscape to tax and spend Democrats who have run hard into scandals and financial ruin. Even though such a scenario ought to result in sweeping changes in Albany, Democrats remain poised to hold control over top statewide positions because the GOP can't even get out of its own way.

No comments: