It was my usual Sunday ritual: Go to Long Island’s “best” lox at Roslyn’s “Andel’s” and buy a spectacular sesame, flat-bagel at the one and only “Bagel Boss” on Willis Ave.
Only this time, it was different. The usual $1.25 bagel was now $1.36!
I told my friend behind the counter that I guessed Bernake’s hold on inflation was not working out after all. (remember when a bagel was 25 cents?)
“Oh, no”, said my friend.
(You won’t believe this one!)
The price of the bagel is still $1.25. But if you want it “sliced”, there is now a new 13 cent NEW YORK STATE SALES TAX added on.
(Please Governor Cuomo: raise the fee on my “vanity plates,”but don’t touch my bagels!)
Which brings me to “the fiscal cliff.”
Are you kidding? What a stretch? From a tax on a sliced bagel to what?
Just give me a minute. Hear me out.
Can you think of anyone who has solved their debt crisis by raising taxes? Then maybe you can agree with me that to solve our financial problem, we must cut our spending as well.
Governor Jerry Brown tried the higher tax route and California is still bankrupt. Businesses are moving in droves to Texas! Maryland did the same. Their businesses just got up and moved across the border into the lower taxed, more business-friendly state of Virginia. And, of course, how can we forget Illinois, the State with the lowest bond rating in the entire nation. Hello Wisconsin! Welcome to Ohio!
All these states had one thing in common. They tried to balance their budgets by raising taxes. In EVERY case, it resulted in LOWER total tax revenue and an exit of thousands of their residents and companies to neighboring states.
How bad is Illinois? The Commercial Club of Chicago said recently that their state’s pension crisis “is now un-fixable.”
Gov. Pat Quinn (D) who also tried to solve the problem over a year ago with a huge increase in the state’s Income and sales tax, now finally agrees with this business group,
Ready for this one? Illinois has a $200 BILLION DOLLAR DEBT!! That’s billion with a “B!”
This State also has an unfunded pension liability of $95 BILLION dollars, In 2013, they will have to come up with 6 BILLION dollars of it.
What can they do? The tax route failed. Besides going to President Obama for a huge Chicago bailout, to whom could they go? The International Monetary Fund is busy trying to save the Euro. The European Bank is sending all their money to Greece. The UN? Germany? Oprah? How about a loan from Warren?
My suggestion? For advise on how to solve their problem, Gov. Quinn should try speaking to Leonard Genova (Oyster Bay’s Deputy Superintendent) or Robert Rauff, (CSEA’s Local 881 Union President)
You heard me right!
Oyster Bay? a Union official? A solution right here on Long Island?
This is what happened. That financially-strapped, small Long Island community, also dug itself into a huge financial hole by “spending and promising ” too much! Compared to Illinois, theirs was only a “paltry” $13 million dollars. But, nevertheless, that was a huge amount for this small town. The choice was simple. Either immediately fire 200 workers or come up with a better solution. Working together, union AND management forged a compromise solution and actually solved the problem!
Way to go, Oyster Bay!!!
In exchange for NO layoffs, the union agreed to:
- no salary hikes,
- no step increases,
- no longevity pay,
- a small payroll reduction and
- a retirement incentive program which resulted in 90 workers retiring this year .
And, here are the results :
Oyster Bay will save:
- $10.5 million dollars in salary and benefits and
- $8 million dollars in salary givebacks !
- AND NOT ONE WORKER WILL BE FIRED!
- 200 Long Island jobs are saved !!
“The United States always does the right thing, but only after exploring every other possible course of action.” ~ Winston Churchill