BY ANTHONY MELE
Rockland County’s credit rating was recently downgraded again to one degree above Junk Bonds. In other words, our credit rating is near worthless. Rockland County could not walk into a car dealership and buy a car or put a Pea Coat in Macy’s on lay-away till next Christmas.
The people who were hired to manage the revenue stream into the county by collecting taxes and then paying the bills have effectively spent over three times what the county takes in. If they were running your business, they simply spent every projected dime you can make to the point where you cannot even borrow a penny.
The Rockland County government is composed of fine people who are undeserving of disparagement. The preceding paragraph simply encapsulate for the reader, the severity of the problem facing us, and in the final analysis identifies who is most directly responsible.
Finger-pointing can’t restore our fiscal health nor repair what is broken, but it will demonstrate what we know about human nature. The culprits will not take the blame, bear the heat, nor commit to the painful solution.
If the problem is over-spending and over-taxing, then the solution is, stop. If the retort is, we can’t afford to pay for all these costs, the response is, don’t buy what you cannot afford to pay for. The conundrum is the elected officials want to get re-elected and continue to feed at the public trough at taxpayer expense.
Those entrusted with spending tax payer money; reduce the tax payer to their political ATM cash dispenser. They do not consider your money as private property and every tax they impose is the same as government seizure of private property because they have been taking it from you for years and you keep re-electing them.
They develop a sense of entitlement to your private property. They attend a Legislative Board meeting, want to get home to do something else, are presented with an invoice simply vote to pay it with your money.
When they realize there isn’t enough of your money, they craft the ingenious solution of taking more of it. When faced with the predicament that they cannot impose another tax, the final solution becomes borrowing it, by using your money as collateral to repay it with interest.
The county executive and legislature’s cast of characters have been in office for many years. They pass laws against condiments and criminalize misguided kids who try to smoke it. They interfere with private businesses and ignore free market dynamics by passing laws regulating shopping bags and chiding newspapers for price increases.
They double their own salaries, cut their own time, dole out jobs for their friends and families, and contribute money to party bosses in return for their cross endorsements, irrespective of party affiliation. The outcome is a morphing into a one party system that no longer has the leverage to represent the interest of the voting public who sent them in the first place.
It becomes apparent, some figured out how to get pre-selected, suppress opposition, and get re-elected. The measure of their ineffectiveness was communicated to us, not by me, in this editorial, but my Moody’s. I am only saying what everyone else is thinking.
What happens when there is no loyal opposition, when cooperation masquerades collusion, or when back room deals deny voters choices? I leave the answer unwritten and unspoken in order to reserve the comment section for your thoughts on the question.