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Monday, October 4, 2010


Sunday, Oct 3, the Times Union ran a major
story on the property tax crisis and related
budget problems of the City of Albany.

George Marlin, a conservative investment
banker had a related article in the Sunday
NY Post:

Albany is going the way of Buffalo and
the South Bronx.

Gubernatorial candidates, as well as
candidates for State Comptroller  and
the State Legislature would do well to
focus on the condition of  Albany  in
the remaining 30 days before the
November 2 election.

The fate of Albany hangs in the balance.

Here are a ideas which all the candidates
should consider embracing:

1. Back off threats and plans to severely
trim the state work force.

The state workforce is to Albany, Troy
Schenectady and other Capital District
units of government, what the iron and
steel industry was to Buffalo.

2. Real Property tax relief will be achieved
through focusing, not on laying off state
workers, who make up a major share of
the property tax payers (state and municipal
government retirees, included); but focusing
on the costs and spending caused by supporting
a growing dependent population which can not
and does not pay for the costs of the services
that population demands and requires.

Those costs include schools, the myriad of social
services, including housing, HEAP, food stamps
day care, medicaid, police, fire, corrections and

Albany's plight is made worse by the facts that
about a third of housing units in the city are
owner occupied by an aging population on
fixed incomes' and that more than 75 percent
of the  growing city school population comes
from households that do not pay to support
city schools.

That school population continues to grow
because schools are now taking on the role
of day care centers with the introduction
of full day Kindergarten and, most recently
full day Pre-K.

Add to this that the Common Council has
proclaimed Albany a sanctuary city for
illegal aliens, whose  growing number
and need for services is an additional burden
on social services, schools and property tax
payers. Repeal Albany's sanctuary city

The City school district has adopted a policy
prohibiting inquiry as to the citizenship and
immigration status of children and their
parents. Repeal this policy.

The drop out rate in the Albany School
system is about 50 percent, while the cost
per pupil, per year is more than $20,000
among the highest in the state.

The dependent population resides in
dysfunctional households, creates
disruptive school environments which
creates  negative learning environments
for those students who value learning
and who want to learn.

Crime and anti-social behavior by the
dependent population creates a need for
more police and fire services, more court
cases, more jails and correctional services-
all of which are ultimately paid for , in large
part, through ever increasing property

3. Amend state law to provide for the
consolidation of city schools with city
government, establish one property tax
roll, with one annual payment date, to
fund both; return to K-8 neighborhood
schools, make the Mayor and Common
Council responsible/accountable for
the operation/performance of city schools.

In addition, revise school curriculums.
Focus on proficiency in English, critical
thinking, historical knowledge, basic
science and arithmetic,  and acquisition
of attitudes and behaviors that will
result in students being able to earn
a living, be productive contributors to
a better society, and informed citizen

4. Pressure candidates for U S Senate
and the House of Representatives to vote
to extend the so called "Bush tax cuts"
for all taxpayers, when the matter comes
up for a vote after the November 2 election.

5. Pressure state candidates to remove
the tax and regulatory burdens, and other
state mandates that are hampering
economic development in New York
at the state, and local levels.

More economic development means
more jobs, more homeowners and
property tax payers to fund schools
and city/state services.

Informed voters, demanding the above
and related actions,  from candidates for
federal and state offices, have the power
to  force property tax relief, improvement
of city schools, improvement of economic
conditions, creation of jobs and reduction
of urban crime. In short, a better life and
living conditions for all who so desire.

                                     Joe Sullivan

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