As we enter 2018, after a handful of days of people standing in lines to prepay whatever 2018 taxes they could, we are more aware than at any time of how our government in Washington betrayed us, but worse, how our elected Republicans picked party over people.
The original name of this tax plan, in a slightly modified state, use to be called The Ryan Plan. It was worked and reworked by Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan for years. It intentionally punished states that provided services to those in need and rewarded the wealthiest among us. Now it is the law. Where were our elected state and local Republican office holders? How many of them organized trips to Washington, DC to lobby members of the US House and Senate? How many of them held town halls to discuss federal policies and engage their constituents in fighting these draconian bills? How many of them did anything to prevent this anti New York action?
In the late 1990s, Republican Women for Choice from around the United States went to Washington to lobby Congress. Other groups visit Members of Congress on any number of issues, in organized groups or as individuals, certainly the Kochs, Mercers and Mellons, to name a few, know how to influence legislation at every level of government. So where were our New York State Republicans? What were they doing? A few wrote letters to Donald Trump, others started petitions and others sent out (at taxpayer expense) mailings and email blasts condemning the legislation; but how many got on a plane? How many organized to tackle this head on in DC when and where it mattered most?
Westchester County Republicans weren’t even outspoken when Astorino, the outgoing County Executive refused to include 2018 Westchester County taxes in the mix, possibly saving his constituents hundreds of millions of dollars this year. Where was the outcry from our elected Republicans at the County level, at the state level or in our towns, villages or cities?
By not taking any responsibility, they have cost us, the taxpayers, billions of dollars. They threaten the financial stability of the state and more importantly the families and businesses who call New York home. You cannot support Trump and Ryan with one hand and hold the other behind your back with false pledges of support for the families who live in your community. You can’t cry wolf’s tears after the legislation is already in motion and expect to have the influence you might have had with a clear strategy to defeat it.
Many of these officials will be up for reelection in 2018. It is time to send them back home…their lack of action just might have cost you yours.
Mark A. Lieberman