Elections Have Consequences

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about the recent Democrat primary races in New York State.

The article reports:

A half-dozen insurgent candidates in Brooklyn and Queens — some backed by the Democratic Socialists of America — toppled veteran incumbents in Democratic primary races, including close allies of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

With Heastie’s backing, the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee poured more than $400,000 combined to prop up 46-year veteran Joe Lentol, Felix Ortiz and Walter Mosley in Brooklyn and Aravella Simotas, Michael Den Dekker and Michael Miller in Queens.

They all lost.

Insurgent Zohran Mamdani, who defeated four-term incumbent Simotas in the 36th Assembly District covering Astoria, said in a tweet: “Socialism won.”

He was endorsed by the DSA.

The DACC donated $125,000 to Simotas’ re-election campaign.

So what does this mean for the State of New York? Emily Gallagher, one of the socialists elected stated, “I’m ready to get to work.” She has already stated that she would push to raise income taxes on the “top one percent” to preserve services, adding, “We need the revenue to survive.” Someone needs to tell her about the Laffer Curve.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, five other progressive Democrats backed by the WFP (Working Families Party) and other progressive groups are expected to win open Assembly seats.

The newcomers are expected to raise hell, but Albany watchers said the jury is out on how much impact they will have in a body with more than 100 Democrats — including many moderates representing suburban and upstate districts.

“Clearly the candidates who won have a more liberal, progressive agenda,” said University of Albany political science professor Bruce Gyory.

He said he believes Heastie’s position as speaker is secure.

Heastie personally called all the winning insurgents to congratulate them.

All the candidates are running in heavily Democratic districts and are expected to prevail in the general election.

There is actually some good news here. A group is arising out of the Democrat party that will eventually form a third party (to the left of traditional Democrats). As the results of their policies become obvious, they will lose votes. If any of the tax increases and other policies of these recently elected Democrats are put in place, I predict that New York State will lose its tax base.

According to a Forbes Magazine article in January 2020, New York was already leading the nation in the number of people leaving the state:

Actually, I am surprised that California did not make the top ten states losing population.

 

The Problem With Mail-In Voting

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about the recent primary in New York State. The primary was held on June 23. All voters had until May 29 to register online, in person at a local board of elections, or by mailing in a voter registration form.

The article reports:

How badly has the state of New York handled its vote-by-mail primary? Only today did the Associated Press make the call on the race in NY-16, concluding three weeks after the election that Rep. Eliot Engel lost to his primary challenger, progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman — by sixteen points. It took that long to get through enough of the mail-in ballots and navigate the opaque reporting on the count for the AP to reach a firm conclusion in a landslide for Bowman.

That race is no fluke, either. The New York Times reports that some races have only a handful of ballots counted, and that outcomes of many of the primary contests have yet to be determined, more than three weeks after the election day. This portends disaster in November, the Times warns:

More than three weeks after the New York primaries, election officials have not yet counted an untold number of mail-in absentee ballots, leaving numerous closely watched races unresolved, including three key Democratic congressional contests.

The absentee ballot count — greatly inflated this year because the state expanded the vote-by-mail option because of the coronavirus pandemic — has been painstakingly slow, and hard to track, with no running account of the vote totals available.

In some cases, the tiny number of ballots counted has bordered on the absurd: In the 12th Congressional District, where Representative Carolyn B. Maloney is fighting for her political life against her challenger, Suraj Patel, only 800 of some 65,000 absentee ballots had been tabulated as of Wednesday, according to Mr. Patel, though thousands had been disqualified. …

The delays in New York’s primaries raise huge concerns about how the state will handle the general election in November, and may offer a cautionary note for other states as they weigh whether to embrace, and how to implement, a vote-by-mail system because of the pandemic.

Most voter fraud occurs in absentee ballots or mail-in ballots. This is the place where ballot harvesting occurs–a person can go into a nursing home, get people with limited cognitive ability to sign a ballot, and fill out the ballot themselves and turn it in. Ballots can be stolen from mailboxes, filled out, and turned in. It is a nightmare to anyone who wants an honest election.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

The vote-by-mail system, however, truly is a disaster, and not just over security concerns. The timelines in our Constitution are too tight for the kinds of delays seen in this year’s primaries. We are at risk of being without a legitimate Congress as well as a legitimate president by the time the deadlines for both are reached. The only way to ensure that we can meet those deadlines is to vote in person by paper ballots utilizing optical-scan technology for fast and accurate counts. The delay from a relative small number of contests in that system where absentee ballots could make the difference will be easy to absorb, but we can’t wait several weeks to confirm outcomes in races with double-digit in-person vote gaps.

Stop pretending this is a Trump problem. This is an electoral legitimacy problem in more than one aspect, and it’s time we treated it as such. If we can go to Walmart in this pandemic, we certainly can figure out how to vote in person to choose this country’s leadership.

Taking Away Religious Freedom And Parent’s Rights

On September 13th, CBN News reported that the New York Department of Education is moving to force all private schools in the state to perform as public schools. The department is reevaluating a 125-year-old law that would require private schools to offer the equivalent instruction to students as required in public schools.

The article reports:

This means all private schools’ curriculum, scheduling, lesson plans, hiring standards, and reporting requirements would have to follow all regulations as required by the state for public schools. The new regulations would also give the power to local school districts to oversee and inspect private and parochial schools. If a school was found lacking in compliance with the proposed regulations, the school could be closed. 

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a non-profit legal defense organization, represents Parents Union for Religious Integrity of Torah Education (PURITE). The parents and rabbis who sought PJI’s assistance practice ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Judaism. They have been training their youth in small religious schools known as yeshivas for thousands of years. The schools instruct in subjects such as math and English language while focusing primarily on the Torah and Talmud. 

PURITE notes that the proposed regulations would essentially outlaw their way of life and education. Parochial school leaders and homeschool families are also concerned about the suggested rules. 

PJI attorney Kevin Snider sent a letter last week to the New York Department of Education, which had been accepting public comment. Snider’s letter explains in some detail the conflict between Torah-based education and the goals of NY public schools.

This is the precursor to a move against homeschooling. Unfortunately the American public education system is failing the students. Many students who go to college are having to take remedial courses in English and mathematics before they can actually take a college course. Our children are graduating high school with no marketable skills and no practical life skills. The have been schooled in what to think, but not schooled in how to think. As parents realize that the public schools are failing their children, they are turning to other ways to educate their children.

The following chart shows the growth of homeschooling in America since 1970. People taking their children out of public school is a threat to the education establishment. We already know that children in Charter Schools, private schools and homeschooling do better than children in public school.  That is the reason the State of New York is going after private education.

Ultimately parents are responsible for raising and educating their children. That is a responsibility and right that the government is slowly infringing on.

Logic Takes A Vacation

Breitbart posted an article today about the State of New York’s $2.3 billion budget shortfall. Governor Cuomo is blaming the Trump tax bill for the shortfall.

The article explains the logic:

According to Cuomo, it was Trump’s tax cut that caused “many of the state’s richest residents — who pay 46 percent of the state’s income tax — to either change their primary residence or leave New York entirely.”

…What Trump’s tax reform did was to restore fairness to the tax code, was to put an end to the injustice of all Americans — including those in the middle class — paying for the sky high tax rates in states like New York.

You see, before Trump reformed the tax code, all Americans were subsidizing the rich.

It used to be that you could write off every penny of your state income tax on your federal income tax. Trump put an end to this outrage. Here’s how it works…

In the state of New York, if you earn over $1.078 million per year, you pay an income tax to the state of almost nine percent.

In other words,  using round numbers, a New York resident who earns $10 million owes the state of New York close to $900,000 in income taxes. But…

Democrat-run states like New York knew that their rich residents would not feel the sting of that $900,000 tax bill because that $900,000 could be written off of their federal tax bill.

Basically, this was a sleazy way for Blue States to steal money from federal taxpayers, to make all of us pay for their grotesque tax rates. These Democrat-run states not only got all of this tax money, they also avoided getting voted out of office for over-taxing because the federal write-off removed most of the sting for the wealthy taxpayer.

Thankfully, Trump’s tax bill put an end to this shell game. Whereas before there was no limit on the amount of state income tax you could write off on your federal taxes, now there is a $10,000 limit. This means that the poor sap gutted for $900,000 in income taxes by New York, now eats $890,000 of it, which is as it should be.

Hey, if you’re a rich guy who thinks your taxes are too high, instead of making middle class taxpayers subsidize your ass, maybe stop voting for Democrats? Just an idea.

For those who want the rich to pay more taxes, the Trump tax plan has accomplished exactly that in New York and some other states that have excessive taxes.

The article concludes:

The truth, though, is spelled out very well by economist Marty Cantor, who laid it out for a local news outlet.

“The problems here are caused by the governor and his administration,” he told News12, “It’s too expensive to live on Long Island and in New York state. Taxes are too high, people are leaving. It has nothing to do with Trump.”

Here’s the kicker: The $10,000 write-off limit did not go into effect until  2018. So how does Cuomo explain 2017’s $4.4 billion deficit? How did the Orange Bad Man create that one?

Crickets.

When You Give To A Charity, Know Where Your Money Is Going

Yesterday BizPac Review posted an article about the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc., a group of black New York State legislators who run a charity to provide scholarships for black and Latino youth.

The article reports:

The caucus of black New York state lawmakers run a charity whose stated mission is to empower “African American and Latino youth through education and leadership initiatives” by “providing opportunity to higher education” — but it hasn’t given a single scholarship to needy youth in years, according to a New York Post investigation.

The group collects money from companies like AT&T, the Real Estate Board of New York, Time Warner Cable, and CableVision, telling them in promotional materials that they are “changing lives, one scholarship at a time.”

The group — called the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc.  — instead spent $500,000 on items like food, limousines, and rap music, the Post found.

The politicians refused to divulge the charity’s 2017 tax filing to the Post despite federal requirements that charities do so upon request.

The article provides some insight as to where the money collected goes:

State. Sen. Leroy Comrie of Queens, the group’s number two, refused to come out when Post reporter Isabel Vincent stopped by his office. All of the politicians mentioned are Democrats.

“The real purpose (of the charity) is to bring people to get over their apathy and out to Albany and get motivated,” the charity’s former chairman, Assemblyman Nick Perry of Brooklyn, previously said.

There has been no money used for scholarships in that past two years, the Post reported, citing sources. That’s even after the Albany Times-Union called outthe charity in January 2017 for meager spending in prior years.

The charity gave $36,000 of its $565,000 in revenue to scholarships in 2015. That year, it spent $85,000 on a concert with Eric Benet and Regina Belle, and $157,000 on food, according to the Times-Union’s analysis of its tax filings.

The group said that year it planned to double the amount of scholarships it gave, but it didn’t happen.

In 2017, its annual event featured the rap artist Big Daddy Kane.

Hopefully the Attorney General of the State of New York will decide that the spending habits of this charity are inappropriate and require this group to actually fund some scholarships. However, it’s New York, so I am not optimistic.

Unfortunately, Government Money Usually Has Strings Attached

Somewhere along the line, many people in America have gotten the idea that government money is ‘free money.’ It has not occurred to many Americans that the government has no money except money it takes from people who earned it. It also has not occurred to many Americans that government money usually has strings attached–taking government money generally gives the government permission to get involved in whatever you are doing with the money. This is true at all levels of government–from local to federal.

A recent example of this appeared in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The headline states, “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Is Investigating Cooper Union.” Under that headline, the article states, “Probe focuses on financial decisions that led to school’s move to charge tuition.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to mention that one of my daughters graduated from Cooper Union with a degree in electrical engineering, so this article is very interesting to me. When she attended the school, it was tuition-free and she did get some help with her New York City living expenses.

So what did Cooper Union do that gives the State of New York the right to examine their decision to charge tuition? There are two actions that implicitly grant that right to the State of New York. The school owns the land in New York City that the Chrysler Building sits on.

The article explains:

As part of a long-running agreement between the school and the state, the school doesn’t pay property taxes on the Chrysler land and an amount equivalent to the Chrysler building’s property taxes are paid to Cooper Union rather than the city.

The agreement is partly due to the school’s status as a nonprofit and what its officials have argued is a force for social good.

Evidently these two conditions supposedly allow the State of New York to investigate the finances of a private college.

I think the telling paragraph in the article is:

Cooper Union’s financial portfolio is heavily invested in real-estate assets, public financial statements show. As it faced financial difficulties, the school declined to sell its land under the Chrysler building.

If Cooper Union sells that land, the property taxes from that land would be paid to New York City and not to Cooper Union. New York City is facing severe financial problems because of constant overspending and overtaxing–businesses and people are moving out of the city because they cannot afford to live there. I hope that this investigation does not force Cooper Union into selling the land under the Chrysler building–that is a permanent fix to a temporary problem. They are better off charging tuition until they get their books balanced. The State of New York really has no reason to investigate this other than to go after the land the has allowed the school to continue to operate. This is another example of government money with strings attached that are the size of the cables that hold up the Throgs Neck Bridge.