Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paladino's Latest Policy Prescriptions: Eliminate the MTA; Cut $20 Billion From Medicaid

Well, this is a bit of fresh air. It's writing about a policy issue with Carl Paladino instead of his inane comments that continue to show him unfit for the job of governor.

He's come out with a couple of policy choices, one of which shows just how out of touch with fiscal realities he is.

He's called for the elimination of the MTA and direct control of the resulting agency by the governor. I've railed against the mismanagement of the MTA for years, and there have been repeated calls by members of the legislature to reform public authorities law for years, most recently led by Richard Brodsky.

Eliminating the MTA isn't going to solve the mass transit problems in the City, nor is it going to address the declining state support for mass transit that has put the agency in a bind.

Oh, and Paladino clearly doesn't understand how the MTA operates. The governor already has the power to choose the MTA board. The MTA has to answer to the Legislature. It is already a creature of the state political system and government oversight so his rambling rant doesn't change matters.

He also claims that the MTA has two sets of books, which was actually disproven in federal court and whose annual reports are public record.

Not that it matters, since this is a red meat issue designed to gain favor among Republicans upstate and independents and moderates in the NYC Metro area who are perpetually unhappy with the way the MTA operates and the rash of fare hikes and service cuts. Just as his anti-gay remarks were designed to gain favor among Catholics, he's trying to hit various constituencies to try and overcome a major deficit in the polls.

Then, there's Paladino's attempts to deal with the state budget situation. He thinks the way to save the state from fiscal disaster is to cut $20 billion from the state's Medicaid outlays. That's simply never going to happen because there isn't $20 billion to cut and the cuts would directly affect medical care in the state.

Oh, and it would also mean a fight involving fighting against both the hospitals and medical professionals who get reimbursed from the Medicaid outlays, and the service unions that work at those facilities. We're talking about groups that treat even holding spending in check as a cut, so this is simply not workable from a political perspective. has attempted to pin down where the candidates stand on the issues, even if the positions are ludicrous.

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