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State decimates much of New York

Commentary

For decades, high-tax, big-spending, and big-regulation policies from New York state government have decimated much of New York.

These policies have hurt people, particularly young people.

Many who grew up here, and benefited from our tremendous schools, have fled New York.

Pick any label you like for these policies. Discouraging, callous, and outrageous are among those that fit. It’s not the label that matters though. It’s the policies.

They’re the principal reason for decades of decline in jobs in much of New York, notwithstanding tremendous efforts of many.

We know the results: In much of New York, no one born since 1960 has any recollection of sustained, local, economic prosperity. At this rate, we’ll have in 2025 senior citizens who have never known a hometown economic boom.

How many other places in the country can say that?

Just how much more of this do advocates of high-tax, big-spending, and big-regulation policies believe we can take?

Does this even faze them?

It’s tempting to wonder whether they can think of additional policies that hurt us.

On May 11, they did.

Earlier, in the wake of the COVID-19 — which stands for Corona virus disease 2019 — outbreak, some of them shut down the economy of all of New York.

Regardless of the merits of this decision, let’s assume — just for purposes of this column — that the shutdown was necessary.

On May 11, they decreed part of New York may begin to reopen.

How do they decide where? By criteria they’ve established, and which they’re implementing by regions of New York that they’ve established.

However, they’re not treating similarly situated neighboring counties similarly.

Why? Because they’re going by region, not county.

Although every COVID-19 death has been tragic, some counties have fared less badly — far less badly — than others.

Among them are Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties, plus neighboring counties in the Finger Lakes and the rest of the Southern Tier.

Does that mean Albany reaches the same result on reopening for these counties?

No.

Why? Because Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties — which some in Albany would have difficulty finding on a map or spelling — aren’t in a region with their similarly situated neighbors.

Instead, they’re in a region with Erie and Niagara counties, whose residents have suffered more from COVID-19 than have residents of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, or Allegany county, or even all three combined.

That skews the numbers such that Albany reaches a different result on reopening for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties than for their similarly situated neighbors.

Such was the May 11 decree.

One issue here is this: The state Legislature has extensively – albeit temporarily — delegated lawmaking power to the executive branch, which is extensively enacting law through executive orders. These include orders on shutting down and reopening economies.

The executive branch reaches one result for one set of contiguous counties. But it reaches the opposite result for two other sets of similarly situated neighboring counties. Is this arbitrary and capricious?

It’s one thing to raise this legislatively or with the executive branch. It’s of course another thing to raise this in a legal challenge.

A more fundamental issue is whether the state Legislature’s extensive — albeit temporary — delegation of lawmaking power to the executive branch is constitutional.

Regardless of which party controls the state Assembly, the state Senate, or the executive branch, government must remain within constitutional boundaries.

Is it constitutional for the legislative branch — however temporarily — to give so much of its power to the executive branch?

Where would that leave the separation of powers?

The separation of powers, together with the principle of limited and enumerated powers of government, help restrain government power and preserve ordered liberty.

Government disregards this at our peril.

Randy Elf is among many people from all across New York who have no recollection of sustained, local, economic prosperity.

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