Friday, April 24, 2009

Democrats Say, Thanks for the Taxes!

Desperate for campaign cash and candidates, Rensselaer County Democrats will be risking the wrath of taxpayers by welcoming one of the three Democrats who produced one of the worst and most costly state budgets in history.

Just weeks after his votes in support of the state budget, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith will be warmly welcomed by Rensselaer County Democrats. Democrats will presumably hoot and holler if and when Senator Smith recounts his support for the beverage tax, investment tax, insurance tax, cell phone tax and the many other taxes being forced on New Yorkers by Democrats. Rensselaer County Democrats will also be expected to cheer as Senator Smith discusses his support for a budget that increases spending by nearly 10 percent during a recession and cancels the popular STAR Rebate program.

The new state budget is proof that Democrats want and support higher taxes for our state, and also support cutting services and programs like the STAR Rebate program that upstate taxpayers relied on. Having Senator Smith as guest of honor demonstrates that Rensselaer County Democrats want and support the higher taxes and service cuts included in the state budget.

Democrats in the county have wanted to talk a good game about how they want lower taxes. But that talk ends at the April 28 fundraiser, when Democrats put campaign cash ahead of the interests of county voters.

Why would Democrats welcome someone so associated with New York State's dysfunctional tax and spend government? Rensselaer County Democrats are desperate, trailing the county GOP by possibly the widest margin ever in terms of available campaign resources. During the January 15 filing, Democrats had about $12,000 on hand, with Republicans showing more than $250,000 in combined accounts. With his recent fundraising, Majority Leader Bobby Mirch has more in his own campaign account than the entire Democrat Party.

And Democrats have had even less success attracting candidates. Despite his bluster, county Democrat Boss Tom Wade has been unable to find candidates for County Executive and County Clerk, and has yet to produce any notable candidates for County Legislature. The City Council Democrats have been a disaster and will probably see a number of primaries. Some of those primary opponents may seek support from popular City Chair Frank LaPosta, who defeated Wade in a decisive vote on rules for selection of candidates. There is real dissension about Democratic choices for judicial positions and the GOP is expecting to gain ground in the towns this year.

Advertising the fact that they support Democratic state leadership that brought about outrageous tax increases and service reductions is not likely to help Rensselaer County Democrats as they stumble towards the fall elections.