Press and Sun Bulletin Supports Looting Public FundsPosted: February 5, 2012
Almost daily the Press & Sun Bulletin prints a front page story concerning the pay, pensions and health care benefits of public employees. The underlying concern is that the public employees are the reason for the financial problems that beset our community, state and nation. There are a number of problems with this approach by the Press.
1. The public employees are not the cause of the greatest financial meltdown since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The blame for this problem can be laid directly at the doorstep of the greedy Wall St. brokers and bankers. Billions were made in swindles and none of it has been paid back. The Press supports the looting of public funds in order to pay off the gambling debts of the financial elite.
2. Public employees perform functions that the mass of people want and need. While the rich can afford to send their children to exclusive private schools, the children of the masses are now in bigger classes and being shortchanged on art, music, and sports. The rich can afford memberships to country clubs while the rest of us must now content ourselves with run down parks, swimming pools and tennis courts.
3. The Press articles do not include all employees paid with public funds. All the “private” companies that are funded with dollars from the public till are never mentioned. All of the defense contractors, subcontractors, road engineers, construction companies and other businesses that receive public contracts and grants have employees that are paid by the public. The Press does not concern itself with publicly financed “private enterprise”. Why not? After all public money is public money.
4. When expressing the ongoing concern for the taxpayer, the Press fails to mention how Gannett and many other major corporations do not pay their fair share of local property and sales taxes. When the Press built a new facility in Johnson City, they received a 50% tax reduction for 15 years and did not have to pay sales tax on approximately $20 million in new equipment. With a county and state sales tax of 8% the Press deprived the public coffers of $160,000. In Broome County alone thousands of families are struggling to pay their property taxes. If the Press and other big corporations paid their fair share, we could all live better. Think of the recent situation where a working woman with two small children was desperate to find a way to get her children to the baby sitter and still get to work on time. The Broome County bus schedules were cut back because of lack of county funds. The woman was struggling to buy a $2,000 car and pay the licensing fee, plus the county sales tax of $160. We cut back child care, and bus transportation but the woman still has to pay the sales tax that the Press avoided. The Johnson City School District can lay off teachers but the Press does not offer to pay its share of property taxes. Why not?
It is time for the Press to take an approach to the current budget problems that will please the public and not just Gannett and the Chamber of Commerce. Call the Press and ask them about their biased approach. If you are a member of a public employee union ask your union leadership to raise public awareness of the Press’s high handed ways.