Waking up to post election blues I watched as Democrats got their clocks cleaned nation wide. In NY State, we Democrats were able to celebrate the election of our next Governor, Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Scheiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. We also watched as Democratic stalwarts Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand got elected to the U.S. Senate representing New York, but on many local levels we took a real drumming. In Columbia County, the candidate I was really pulling for Didi Barrett a State Senate candidate running in the 41st District against long time incumbent Steve Saland got beat handily. I was feeling really good about Didi Barrett's chances against Senator Saland, unfortunately I was severely wrong in my assessment.
Observing with eager anticipation I watched as a clear message was sent by the electorate, "we the people of NY" are tired of the dysfunction in Albany, we need jobs and loweer taxes. As an elected official I'm sure this message isn't only for those on the Federal and State levels, it applies to those of us on the local levels as well.
In Columbia County the Board of Supervisors are proposing a modest taxes increase for this year's budget. I for one am taking the stance, that the taxpayers of Columbia County need a break, we cannot ask for tax increases this year. Unemployment is up, home foreclosures are up, residents are barely holding on to homes they have lived in most of their lives. This is not the type of government I want to represent. When people show "we" elected officials they need relief, we need to take notice and do what is best, not only for County government but for the taxpayer's of the County.
Over the last three years Columbia County government has grown exponentially, while the average County citizen has lost their jobs at record rates. We have also been pondering projects that would give County departments fresh new digs by way of renovating Ockawamick. This has been a controversial project from the start and remains so today. Although "we" the Board of Supervisors agreed to purchase Ockawamick for future County expansion, this is not the time for such an endeavor, the taxpayer's of this County simple cannot pay for this.
As Supervisor of the 4th Ward in the City of Hudson, I have stated and will continue to state, the taxpayer's in Columbia County need a break from tax increases. In order for us to do that we as the Columbia County Board of Supervisors need to make some hard choices, but I guess that is why we got elected by the people, to make hard choices. We need to cut spending, shrink the size of our government and halt all unnecessary projects at this time. Doing all of this we may be able to present a 2011 budget with zero % tax increase for County taxpayers, I don't believe I can support anything less.
To my fellow County Supervisors, the people of Columbia County cannot afford a tax increase no matter how modest the tax proposal. I ask you to stand with me by demanding that we hold the line on a 2011 budget of a zero % tax increase. We can do this, we just need to prioritize our needs and wants.
For those of you who live in Columbia County, call your Supervisor and tell them "NO NEW TAXES".