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Tea Party Proposals
May 23, 2011 - Dunkirk OBSERVER
Posted by Nicholas L. Dean
The Southern Tier Tea Party Patriots held a press conference last Thursday to announce some initiatives they would like to see undertaken by the county.
In total, the party released four proposals -- two aimed at addressing the county's coming budget deficit, one long-term suggestion regarding the County Legislature and one opposing the issue of gay marriage.
The full text of their proposals is posted below.
In short though, the group is calling on the county executive and the legislature to institute a county wage freeze. Additionally, the party is calling for legislators to give up a portion of their annual stipends -- $2,000 from each of the 25 members.
The group is also pitching a return to the former Board of Supervisors model of county government, which would eliminate the legislature as it's currently set up.
The fourth proposal from the group is actually just more of a position statement. The group opposes any state legislation to change the definition of the word "marriige" and also calls on Governor Andrew Cuomo to rescind the order which allows marriages conducted outside the state to be recognized as such in New York.
What follows is the full text of the local Tea Party group's four proposals to county governement:
Proposal 1: With Chautauqua County facing a multi-million dollar budget deficit for 2012, and as the only way to avoid public employee layoffs, we propose that action be taken by county government through whatever means necessary, to institute a county wage freeze on the approximately $2 million in scheduled Step Increases, which would otherwise increase our tax burden in the upcoming budget.
We obviously recognize the inability for the County Executive and the Legislature to simply void existing public employee contracts. However, they must call the Union heads to the table and negotiate that they either forgo these wage increases, and if not, there must be layoffs. We taxpayers cannot afford the escalation of salaries during these struggling economic times.
Proposal 2: In light of the County Legislature’s recently failed redistricting plan which would have eliminated 6 legislators, the group proposes that the existing 25 members each take a $2,000 pay cut totaling $50,000, producing a close approximate in savings to the $54,000 sought through the failed plan.
With all the time spent and wasted on an effort that would only affect 1/10th of 1 percent of the total county payroll, we have come up with a solution that immediately addresses a fiscal issue at hand, and does so without modifying our current level of representation. Do it and move on to more important issues, like the 2 million dollar step increases for county public employees.
Proposal 3: Further, in light of this failure, and as a longer term solution, the group proposes that the Legislature pursue the necessary steps to abolish itself and return to the former Board of Supervisors model of county government.
For those that speak of limited government here is the only measure consistent with eliminating a layer of government, without reducing representation, a way in which savings could be achieved and duplicity reduced “without consolidating more power into fewer hands”, and so for those who have suggested they would gladly see their own seat eliminated, here’s your chance to act.
Proposal 4: The group opposes any NY legislation to change the definition of Marriage of one Man and one Woman. We also call on Governor Cuomo to rescind the executive order of former Governor Paterson which by-passed the legislature and recognized redefined “marriages” conducted outside the state, deviating from the standard of one man and one woman.
As for the latter, “same sex” marriage was defeated in NY only a couple years ago (what’s changed?). Consequently, then-Governor Paterson chose to utilize executive order to recognize them anyway. We contend this was an abuse of his authority, undermined the state legislature, and that this unilateral move on his part, which Governor Cuomo continues to uphold, is constitutionally defective.
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Mel McGinnis is president of the Southern Tier Tea Party Patriots.