I Need to Know Right Now

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I Need to Know Right Now

April 25, 2013 - 14:34

Are the Astorino Lawn Signs Available yet?

This election is so straight forward:

Vote Astorino - "Keep taxes at bay"

Vote Noam - "Helllloooooooo Tax and Spend!

We are still the highest taxed county in the US but with Noam we can shatter that record!!!!

Someone still has to let me know why County Government is meaningful to anyone who lives in an incorporated city.

Sponsored by Monroe College Westchester Community College Campus

There are 15 Comments

Bruce Negrin asks "Someone still has to let me know why County Government is meaningful to anyone who lives in an incorporated city".

Glad to explain this to you Bruce.

Westchester County has a 'weak' form of County Government, compared to the expensive, close-to-bankrupt 'strong' form of county government of Nassau historically run by Republicans.

In Westchester, our County government's main functions are running and policing our many County Parks and County Parkways, as well as running various social services, and running some departments mandated by NY State.

Depite the population density of our five cities, there is also extensive population in many of our towns. If Greenburgh was a city, it would be Westchester's second largest city. In comparison, Westchester County provides some services to Towns, that our Cities provide for themselves.

Although Westchester County might be one of the highest taxed Counties in the USA, it is also one of the wealthiest and solvent counties.

In comparison, those regions of our country with the lowest taxes, often those areas where the Republican Party is strongest, are not-by-coincidence, among the poorer less-solvent, less educated parts of the country, in particular in the regions of the old Confederacy.

But to the extent Westchester County is highly taxed, most of those taxes are not county taxes, but rather Federal, State, Town, City and in particular Board of Education taxes.

Certainly, New Rochelle's main property taxes are due to our Board of Education. At the same time, New Rochelle high property values exist very much due to our excellent public schools. If NR were to cut its Board of Education taxes, it would cause property values to drop, which is why most New Rochelle voters approve the yearly increases in our property taxes.

Blaming our county government for high taxes, is misdirecting your attention from the actual sources of most of our taxes.

But regarding taxes in general, most local voters are willing to pay more taxes for more services, because we live in a very enlightened, educated, progressive, affluent county.

If one wants to live in an area with low taxes and mediocre services, one can always move to states like Mississippi or Arizona.

I should know better but i'll take the bait. Let me quote you

"Although Westchester County might be one of the highest taxed Counties in the USA, it is also one of the wealthiest and solvent counties.

If this is the case I see no reason why we should not re-elect Rob Astorino.

To your other point
"In comparison, those regions of our country with the lowest taxes, often those areas where the Republican Party is strongest, are not-by-coincidence, among the poorer less-solvent, less educated parts of the country, in particular in the regions of the old Confederacy."

Old Confederacy? The war was a 150 years ago! I also find your republican/confederacy comparison to be out of line especially to me a Republican from NY.

The areas with the lowest taxes also have industry and have opened themselves up to be business friendly unlike NY. Please question the intelligence of those in Austin, Dallas or Houston. While you are at throw in "progressive & enlightened" Nashville and Atlanta or Montgomery County MD with taxes half of what is paid here and they still have top schools and services.

One day people will wake up and realize that they pay for the privilege of living in the NY Metro Area and soon after they will start asking why.

As that is the case, I see no reason why we should re-elect Rob Astorino.

Your main motive, seems to be that you and Astorino are both Republicans, so I understand your personal political preference.

However most voters in Westchester and New Rochelle are Democrats or unaffiliated, so you should understand their personal political preferences.

It's obvious that Noam Bramson will make a better County Executive than Astorino. The reasons are, that Bramson will maintain or enhance government services, whereas Astorino would diminish government services. Obviously, the entire reason for municipal government is to provide public services.

Even if Astorino wanted to provide public services, he has a political problem obtaining NYS and Federal financing, precisely because he is a Republican. NYS Governor is a Democrat, and the NYS Senate and Assembly have Democratic majorities.

Likewise, our President is a Democrat, and our US Senate has a Democratic Majority.

I believe the House of Representatives will surprisingly gain a Democratic majority in the 2014 elections, but until then the House is the only Republican source of financing that Astorino might be able to rely on, for financing Westchester government. However, the current version of the Republican Party is known for its stinginess and dislike of government, so even the House of Representatives are unlikely to help Astorino, if he's looking for funding.

The association of the current Republican Party with the Old Confederacy is quite appropriate, and I am surprised you cannot understand the comparison.

I do agree that war was a 150 years ago, but back then the Republicans were the liberal anti-slavery party of the North, i.e. of the government of the USA. And the Democrats were the conservative pro-slavery party of the South, i.e. the traitors in unconstitutional revolt against the government of the USA. However, in the period since 1945, the two parties have reversed polarity, with the Democrats ostracizing Southern racists, resulting in Southern racists switching to the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, the Whites in the South tend to be proud of their Confederacy, despite the fact the Confederacy was a shameful exercise in bigoted, small-minded government. As the South tends to be run by Republicans, it is now Republicans who tend to be proud of the Confederate Flag.

Due to the regions of its popularity, the so-called Tea Party movement comes off appearing as some kind of modern offshoot of the sympathizers of the Confederacy. That is a major reason why very few people in this part of the USA have any respect for the Tea Party.

It’s ironic that you think 150 year old historic events have no relevance to 2013, as your friends want to unilaterally, unlawfully, raise the long-obscure, 238 year old Gadsden Flag on a flagpole owned and administered by the New Rochelle government.

I’m amazed that you have such a high regard for Texas. Aside from LBJ, Texas has long been associated with morally-bankrupt lost causes, such as the Alamo, the Confederacy and bigotry. Personally, I blame Texas for causing the morally unjustified Mexican War, which itself was the direct cause for the American Civil War. Texas is not known for being a beacon of education, and I see no reason why you would boost Houston or Dallas, although I do respect Austin. What is it you find so great about Texas?

I cannot challenge your assertion that “One day people will wake up and realize that they pay for the privilege of living in the NY Metro Area and soon after they will start asking why”, because eternity is a long time. But I doubt your “one day” will occur for many decades, if not centuries.

As our country tends to be more educated with each decade, it is more likely that people will increasingly appreciate the privilege of living in the NY Metro Area, and will continue to appreciate that the social benefits provided by taxation outweigh the selfishness of reduced services from reducing taxes.

I do realize that if taxes are always rising, eventually we would be taxed 100% of our income. I am of the opinion, there are other ways of financing our government, other than taxes, and that there are ways of reducing some government expenditures that should be explored. As such, I advocate that our government should take over our private utilities, and use the profits to finance government services, and regarding NYS I am referring to Con Ed. We’re already doing this regarding Amtrak, MTA, Port Authority, Triboro Authority, TVA, NASA, etc. However, we only did this with Amtrak & MTA after private business ran our rails into bankruptcy.

The key to a better tomorrow is to increase, not reduce, government services; and to find better ways to finance our government.

Brian good luck to you. In reading your posts in the past some of your points had seemed valid but the more you write the less and less you make sense. I'm not sure what you do is called spin or just simple distortion.

As for Rob Astorino I don't vote a according to party lines so the name calling you have resorted to, calling me a republican, is easily brushed away. Why will I vote for County Executive Rob Astorino? Simple, because he is doing exactly what he said he would be doing during his campaign.

See the problem here is that I did not take my own advice. As I said I should have know better than to get dragged into this infinite loop.

But if you ever start selling tickets to the world you seem to live in you must let me know for I would like to buy a few. An escape from reality would be a welcome change.

I am neither spinning nor distorting.

What I am doing, is questioning, disproving and correcting the spinning and distortions of other Posters here.

Most of that spinning and distortion is placed here by persons who identify themselves with ficticious names because they are embarrassed by the fictions of their own posts. Such persons are commonly referred to as trolls.

I respect those persons who use their real names, as they are the only ones with a sense of self-respect and integrity. I might disagree with their posts, but at least I know such persons believe what they post.

Bruce, I refer to you as a Republican because you tried running for NR City Council as a Republican.

I do not always vote party lines myself. I sometimes vote for a third party. And as the Democrats usually don't run anyone for County Legislator in my district, I have voted for Jim Maisano, who is a Republican.

The reason I will vote against Rob Astorino is because he does what he campaigned to do. I respect an elected candidate following up on his campaign promises, but if I don't like those promises, I wil vote against that candidate.

In Astorino's case, I am disturbed that he was trying to impede Westchester's obligations to the Federal government to provide housing to create ethnic balance. However, he reneged on that last week, which is good in itself, but perhaps has violated his campaign promise.

It's probably a good idea for candidates not to promise to do anything illegal under federal law, nor to advocate things that will reduce federal funding of local government.

Regarding escaping from reality, that seems to be the whole basis of the modern Republican Party.

more government services = more taxes = more intervention to collect taxes = more paperwork for compliance = less money in the hands of the individual = more money in the hands of government = more power in the hands of government = less power in the hands of individuals = less freedom = happy politicians and strategists = public park = happy citizens (or else)

Usually, equations have two parts.

As a computer programmer and systems analyst, I am very good at understanding, and debugging logical algorithms.

Your algorithm is odd, in that it states that 12 separate items are all equal.

So what you have stated is:

more government services = happy citizens (or else)

I totally agree with that, as do most Americans.

1) Explain a city like Detroit and State like California using your flawed political logic...

2) Explain 2008-2012 where NR home valuations decreased by 30% and NR Public School taxes increased by a similar % ???

BMWCH, I'll start out, answering question two, as my response to it is also partially answer to your first question(s).

"2) Explain 2008-2012 where NR home valuations decreased by 30% and NR Public School taxes increased by a similar % ???"

Because GW Bush ignored the obvious warnings provided him by Condi Rice, Bush allowed Sept 11, 2001 to occur. And then, GW Bush stupidly started two avoidable and expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not only are those two absurd wars expensive to fight, but now our taxpayers are compelled to pay for the associated VA Injury-Compensation Pensions for the next 80 years.

One has to be willingly blind, not to recognize how badly GW Bush let our corrupt, under-regulated financial institutions run our economy into the ground, and let the real estate bubble grow and burst; all while GW Bush intentionally ran up massive national deficits. Having inherited a balanced budget from Bill Clinton, GW Bush proceeded to create massive deficits by overspending while under-taxing and over-borrowing.

As a result, home valuations, throughout the USA, decreased in the period of 2008-2012, due to the extreme incompetence of President GW Bush's administration from 2001-2009. Although New Rochelle home valuations had also dropped since 2008, the reduction in values have been minimal compared to most of the USA.

I truly doubt that New Rochelle’s average real estate values have dropped the 30% you claim. I suspect its more likely that NR property values had dropped as much as 15% by 2010, but have since largely recovered. Can you please provide statistics showing that the average North End Property has dropped the 30% you claim, including the source of your statistics?

Certainly, if NR property valuation had dropped 30%, almost every property owner would have filed Article 78 Certioraris in NY Supreme Court, successfully reducing their property tax assessments accordingly. I’ve heard of no such large-scale thing occurring in New Rochelle or Westchester County.

Regarding School Taxes increasing in the same period, I believe this has occurred because our School Taxes are always increasing, so as to maintain or improve our excellent public schools. It’s apparent that most New Rochelleans do realize New Rochelle has some of the best public schools in the USA, and can afford the high taxes, and do willingly vote to increase their own taxes in referendums.

Board of Education costs occur because good teachers are more expensive than inferior teachers, and school buildings require maintenance, and modern technology quickly becomes obsolete while being expensive to replace. Personally, I think the NRBOE would be wise to reduce its administrative staff, but any savings should be applied to education itself.

“1) Explain a city like Detroit …”

Detroit is in sad shape for several reasons. Primarily, Detroit and the rest of the rust belt have been deteriorating economically since the 1970’s, because the American automotive industry failed to keep up with the tastes of Americans, while building inferior, gas-guzzling cars that can hardly last 80,000 miles; resulting in Americans preferring Japanese and Korean cars.

Additionally, the American economy has moved away from being industry-based, to service and technology oriented. So while, cities like Detroit have diminished in economic importance, places like Silicon Valley have thrived.

Also, our industrial workers are no longer as well paid, due to the decreasing importance of Unions, something I blame on Ronald Reagan’s union busting. Diminishing the income of union workers resulting in the diminishing the tax base of our industrial cities such as Detroit.

“1) Explain … a State like California …”

Aside from our national economic problems caused by the incredibly incompetent GW Bush administration, California’s problem is somewhat unique to California. Northern California cities such as San Francisco, Oakland or those municipalities of Silicon Valley are thriving, as their economies are technology and service based. Real estate values are quite high in that part of Northern California.

However, Southern California, Florida, Arizona, etc, are suffering from the collapse of a real estate bubble. Our corrupt financial industry provided expensive mortgages to many people that could not afford those loans, for property that was obviously over-priced. Worse yet, out banks knew that they were creating bad loans destined for default.

The State government of California also has another problem due to that State’s Constitution, which is the ease and popularity of referendums on reducing taxes and on recalling elected officials. As a result, California has long been under-taxed, resulting in major state deficits.

In comparison to California, NY State is quite solvent. NY State financial referendums tend to on issues of bonding, in which the voters often choose to increase their taxes for specific purposes. The same thing is true with the NR Board of Education and Library elections, in which NR voters tend to approve tax increases. All this proves, is that the average NY State and average NR voters are wiser than the average California voter.

Kirk to Enterprise..............

Beam Me up Scotty,
There's No Intelligent Life here...

IBMWCH, I am surprised at your implied admission of your own ignorance, but its a good sign.

Your silly post indicates that you know that your claim of 30% reduction of property values in New Rochelle is pure fiction that you invented.

When you pose fiction as fact, you diminish the reliability of all your statements.

Obviously, the only ones posting here, with integrity, are those persons who identify themselves by name. I can understand why you use a make-believe name, as it's consistent with your make-believe facts.

I'd rather be silly than delusionally lurking on the fringes...

Ask somebody.

BMWCH - Ironically, you are delusionally lurking on the fringes.

In 2006 my friend sold his home for $980,000. It was then appraised in 2011 for $660,000.

In early 2008 my house was appraised at $800,000. In 2011 it was worth $568,000. During the same period school taxes continued to increase year over year.

Rather than using some crunched up, massaged and unsubstantiated #'s I prsesent REAL examples and

Good Luck with your ill-concocted, mal-conceived, & convoluted theories and notions derived straight down the Rabbits hole...

Thank you. I appreciate that you actually provided facts.

I presume both homes referred to, are in New Rochelle. If not, then there was no reason to refer to ones outside of this city.

It is likely that these homes were overly-appraised in 2006 and 2008, due to the nation-wide real estate bubble. This is especially true of your friend's $980,000 home. The buyer of your friend's home was likely foolish to buy that property at unrealistic, overly-inflated prices.

Also, you state their reduced values in 2011, when Bush's Great Recession was still peaking. I suspect, 2013 appraisals would reflect much higher values than those of 2011. You have claimed that currently, NR real estate is down 30%, but what are their values currently in 2013?

As a comparison, compare stock prices in 2006, 2008, 2011 and currently. Many stocks and stock indexes, hit heavily by the Great Recession in 2008, are hitting new, all-time highs in 2013.

If your property values are currently down the 30% you claim, you need to contact a good lawyer to file an Art 78 to reduce your tax assessment.

However, New Rochelle hasn't done a city-wide reassessment since about 1956. Unless your property was reassessed in the last 20 years, its likely that your property is assessed much below its true value, which means your property might have been very under-assessed for decades, and that currently, the true value of your home is under-taxed.

You have my sympathy, regarding your taxes. But New Rochelle's residential property values are very related to the quality of our excellent public schools. If school taxes were cut city-wide, it would probably cause real estate values to fall, which is why most NR residents vote for school tax increases every time there is a referendum.