September 30, 2014

Albany Pols Buying Votes? Say it Ain't So!

There have been times, I admit, when I've disagreed with Steve Kimatian, one of the frequent guest columnists for the Syracuse Post-Standard and syracuse.com. Not this week, though.

Kimatian beautifully and thoroughly chastised our Albany politicians for their blatant vote-buying effort via the two rounds of tax rebate checks that are being across the state in the weeks leading up to November's general election.  Vote-buying, you ask?  Take a look at Kimatian's argument and decide for yourself:
That these payments are being made to encourage voters to re-elect those in office is virtually irrefutable. One, the checks just happen to be sent out right before the Nov.4 elections, when they could have been sent most anytime during the year, and two, delivering checks through the Post Office and not by direct deposit is costing taxpayers over $1.6 million in postage just so the legislators can have you manually open an envelope and remove a check hoping you imagine their photo on the face -- much more effective than campaign literature.
He's so right on that, folks -- but he could have gone even further. Sure, the checks could have been sent out most anytime during 2014. But they could have been sent most anytime last year. Why?

Because these checks were approved last year, during the 2013 budget process, by our Sonofa Governor and his pals in the Legislature. So why on earth did they wait so long to send us back our money, if not to demonstrate the power of incumbency, and ensure that they all remain incumbents and benefit from the very power they are abusing?

Seriously -- politicians are so excited to give us back our own money that they had to wait about a year and a half to give it to us, right before an election?  And -- wait for it -- you'll have to report this on your taxes come spring -- several months after the election the rebates purchased.  Clearly they must think we're stupid.

One of the most interesting points that Kimatian made in his commentary on Sunday was to question the constitutionality of these rebates:
Further compounding the wrong making payments to influence voters is prohibited by the New York State Constitution.  Article III, Section 3, states: "No person...shall... offer... or pay... any money or other valuable thing as a compensation ...for the giving or withholding a vote at an election..." As the supreme law of the state, short of an amendment, no act of the Legislature can supersede the obligations of the Constitution.  That our New York state Legislature can so cavalierly enact a law where payments are made to voters just before Election Day is a thumb in the eye to the Constitution and the voters. 
Truly: a thumb in the eye. A kick in the the teeth. A punch to the gut. Pick your body part, and pick the blow that it takes.

If you have the opportunity - no, make the opportunity - to question your elected representatives on this. Ask them if they really think we're so dumb we don't see through this blatant abuse of power. Ask them, too, if they really want people as dumb as they think we are voting for them come November.

And one more thing -- tell them Steve Kimatian sent you.