Since I finished my earlier post on part of NY Governor David A Patterson’s State of the State address, I have watch President-elect Obama’s address on the economy and his “bailout” – I mean reinvestment – plan. I have come to the totally uneducated decision that the DNC must be holding lessons on how to make important speeches and not give anything up. Another waste of time looking for details occured with the Obama speech, as occurred yesterday with the Patterson speech.
Patterson discussed education and the state of it in NY. He state that three out of ten high school students do not graduate from high school. I want some clarification on this statistic. I am not saying that it is an unreasonable number. I just want to know if this is a No Child Left Behind number or an actual NYS statistic. Patterson also indicated that the number is higher if you look at minorities and disadvantaged homes. Stating the obvious does not make a person smart enough to be in public office. He proposed a $350 million – I originally heard $35 million and thought that was not a useful amount – student loan program to allow students in NYS to borrow for college when needed. While this is a tidy sum, I do not see where NYS has the money or the ability to get into the student loan program more than it already is. Such an agency as establishing the New York State Higher Education Loan Program means more state workforce and more hierarchy involved in the student loan area. This is the last thing students and their families need.
When discussing local schools and education, the governor invoked his “we can’t spend more so we have to spend more effectively” quote again. He realizes that there is no more money to give to local school districts. What he did not do or discuss was any sort of mandate relief – in specifics – that would help local districts and municipalities lower costs.
In discussing businesses in NYS, Patterson got his biggest round of applause when he said we should cap property taxes. Unfortunately, he needs to tie this into mandate relief or it is just a shifting of burden, not an actual cap.
The biggest part of Patterson speech dealt with energy. He stated that energy was our new rate of exchange. This can indeed be true at some point in the future in NYS. We need to, as the governor stated, assess the value of the energy we produce in the state.
Patterson also stated that by the year 2015, NYS will get 45% of its electricity from clean, renewable sources. This is a program that was started under former Governor Pataki and followed through by ex-Governor Spitzer. Agencies in government will help with this program, which scares me a bit. Whenever you add in government, the process slows and the cost increases. There will be a resource center where schools, facilities and local governments can receive assistance in conversions. This is good news until we put a bigger government into it. This is an area that private industry can, and should, take over. Private industry works quicker, more efficiently and at less cost in most cases than government.
Governor Patterson discussed creating an Upstate Consortium that would help develop and manufacture the next hybrid electric battery. I do hope that Patterson is not looking through too small a tunnel on what the next “big” automobile idea will be. I believe hybrid electric will be big but I also think that Honda has the right attitude in its clean natural gas vehicles. We cannot spend state monies to develop just one piece of a changing industry. We – and anyone else who is trying to provide this piece to the puzzle to keep the automotive industry afloat in the US – must be looking big picture. We must not narrow what this hybrid industry will be. We have spent too much time looking at only what is here and not what might be coming. That is the attitude that has put the automotive industry in the US in the shape it is currently in. We need to look at more than just electric hybrid.
The governor closed his speech with words on volunteerism and law enforcement. As I told one friend this morning, I would give the governor an A on presentation. The effort put into memorizing a twelve page speech for someone who cannot use aids in the delivery is impressive. Unfortunately, I believe the content of the speech ranks a D. Details were not given. The budget was not “sold.” The governor failed to convince me he is the man to lead this state.