By Joe Angelino
Harry Wilson has decided he isn’t going to run for Governor of New York State in 2018. Many people probably don’t know who Harry Wilson is or why Republican Party leaders across the state are disappointed with his decision. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wilson in Norwich last summer when he was dipping his toe in the gubernatorial waters. He is a successful, charismatic businessman who lives in Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York with modest boyhood roots in upstate Johnstown.
Mr. Wilson was thought by many as the best candidate to challenge our current Governor Andrew Cuomo in this year’s election. While the state GOP leadership searches for a worthy candidate, our Governor is probably resting a little easier knowing Mr. Wilson won’t be facing him this coming November. It is a well-known secret our Governor has aspirations for the Presidency in the 2020 elections. A worthy opponent such as Harry Wilson pointing out some of the Governor’s failed policies wouldn’t be helpful with the Governor’s future goals.
If Governor Cuomo really wants a national campaign to run for President, how is he going to explain the upstate New York malady? Since elected Governor in 2010 over one million New Yorkers, mostly from upstate, have left to live in other states. During the period of July 2016 through July 2017 over 190,000 residents departed The Empire State for greener pastures. That’s equivalent to the total population of Chenango, Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties disappearing in twelve months. This makes New York the number one state at exporting people according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Our neighbors are leaving New York in order to survive. The demographics of those who stay are mostly baby-boomers who are at the end of long careers, now planning to live on retirement savings and Social Security. Younger generations of New Yorkers are having difficulty finding employment which will support a family. One of the identifiers of prosperity is home ownership; sadly if a “Generation X’er” does have a steady job, family and a home, their paycheck may not keep up with expenses and the property taxes. This dilemma is why almost everyone in Central New York knows someone who has moved south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Somehow, the direction our state is taking must change because we just can’t afford to keep giving away our tax dollars to failed programs, bottomless pits and corruption. The biggest obstacle to ending these give-away programs is the fact that the recipients are able to vote. In order to stay in office, lawmakers seldom reign in spending, but will continuously raise taxes on workers and property owners. Soon there will be no one remaining in those two categories.
A way to end this tax and spend cycle is term limits on political office. This sounds easy, but is incredibly difficult to implement. Few people want to vote themselves out of work. In order to get this notion off the ground we may have to hold our noses while we take our medicine to placate current legislators. For term limits to become law, I propose allowing all present-day office holders to remain there until they retire, die, resign or are indicted. There is always the chance they won’t get re-elected, which usually requires the aforementioned indictment.
All future officials elected to office will have a limit to their time in service. This proposal will take a while to fully apply, possibly years, just as it took years to get our state into this abyss. There is no good reason for an elected official to be in office for 40 years or more. However, there is some truth that a person does get better at something the longer they do it and that is certainly the case with many public servants. Because I agree some limits to elected office are too short to accomplish much, I would suggest that elected public service to a particular position shouldn’t exceed eight years. That should be long enough to realize some goals, and short enough to not qualify for retirement benefits.
In my travels around the world I have made specific observations of how other countries govern their people. Some of those governments were so bad I was paid to help change a particular leader’s regime by all means available and “with great prejudice”. Other friendlier countries had Kings, Emperors or Monarchs that weren’t to be questioned or ridiculed or you would face punishment. Wherever I have traveled, my observations lead me to conclude we have the best form of government, flaws included, as any place on Earth, which includes New York State.