Five billion dollars is a lot of money. That is the amount that Governor Cuomo says New York State has in a budget surplus and now he wants to decide how to spend it. SPEND IT? A budget surplus, if I am correct is created when revenue exceeds expenses. So in order to have a surplus, you have either raised more revenue (this would be taxes) or you have spent less, than you anticipated.
Here is a thought, apparently one that has not occurred to our Governor and Legislators. Return this excess taxation to our counties, towns and schools. For the last few years local governments have been prohibited by law of increasing their respective tax levies more than 2% without passing a local resolution to permit the increase. The 2% was actually not 2% the last couple of years, hovering around 1.5%. Our local governments have been forced to put off many necessary expenses to stay under this cap. Roads and other services have suffered as you are well aware.
I know that when many of you see figures your eyes glaze over, so I will try to make this quick and painless. Five billion dollars, divided by 20 million (the approximate population of New York State) results in $250 per person. There are approximately 77,000 people in Sullivan County. If we multiply the per capita number ($250) times 77,000 we get $19,250,000. I think the Governor and our State Legislators should send Sullivan County and the towns and schools in Sullivan County, a check for $19,250,000. We’ll figure out how to spend it.
Charlie Barbuti, Supervisor and Town of Liberty Councilmen; Tom Hasbrouck, Dean Farrand, Russell Reeves and Brian McPhillips