Another Blow to Upstate

This comes under the heading, “When you think it can’t get any worse.”  I just read today’s NY Post and I thought all of my readers should see this.  All credit to the NYP Editorial board for keeping up with the nonsense coming out of Albany.  Gov. Andrew is at it again.  And if he’s at it-we’re going to get it.  The editorial follows.

Mike Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo just can’t seem to resist slamming Upstate simply to pander to the greens. The latest pain: His drive to build vast “wind farms” off Long Island will zing upstaters’ electric bills to the tune of more than $1 billion — and that’s just for the first round of subsidies.

Credit the Empire Center’s Ken Girardin for uncovering this injustice in new filings by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which shows that subsidies for the windmill operators could hit $2.2 billion — — about double today’s wholesale electric prices for the city and Long Island.

The cost would be snuck into consumers’ electric bills all across New York — with utilities legally barred from telling the public what’s going on. And that’s just for about a fifth of the 9,000 megawatts of wind power mandated by the “Climate Leadership” law Cuomo got passed this year.

Mind you, the gov’s making even green power more expensive than it needs to be, by requiring union wages and work rules on these wind projects and by blocking better alternative sources, like Canadian hydropower, from qualifying for state subsidies.

Meanwhile, much of the state suffers needlessly because of Cuomo’s junk-science ban on fracking, which robs depressed rural areas of good jobs and the wealth that selling drilling rights would bring.

This gov’s “climate leadership” is pushing much of the state to ruin.

Filed under andrew cuomoclimate changeeditorialelectricity


It’s official. The Democrat-controlled Albany government has turned a blind eye to federal law by allowing illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses in New York State. Of course, Albany Democrats don’t call illegal aliens what they are; instead, they use the progressive euphemism “undocumented people.” You see how this works? The slogan goes, “No human is illegal.” True, humans are not illegal, but they can do illegal things, like breaking our immigration laws. That’s why we have laws in the first place, to protect our citizens, property and institutions.

Governor Cuomo supports this affront to New York’s citizens and to every immigrant who jumped through the proper hoops to get here legally. Cuomo, may be the state’s chief law enforcement officer, but he has abandoned that responsibility in the pursuit of new voters.

Cuomo expressed worry that the federal government might use the database created to track illegals, saying, “Why give Trump a list of undocumented immigrants?” Clearly, he does not intend to enforce federal law; he will obstruct it, thereby encouraging more illegal immigration.

Meanwhile Letitia James, State Attorney General, will continue to contravene federal immigration law, saying, “The legislation (the law granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses) is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses.” Translation: we’ll gum up the works to prevent federal law enforcement from doing its job.

Senate and Assembly Democrats delivered 33-29 and 86-47 majorities to pass this monstrosity over the votes of Republicans. Senate Majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, with her fingers crossed behind her back, said, “By passing this needed legislation, we are growing our economy while at the same time making our roads safer.” She blathered on, “This is the right step forward for New York State as we continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.”

Let’s take these silly, specious arguments seriously for a moment. Illegal aliens do not help grow the economy; they are a drain on it. Does anyone seriously believe that physicians, software engineers and various Ph.D.’s are scampering across our southern border? No, we are getting low-skilled, poorly educated people who eat public resources and our tax dollars. And does merely getting a driver’s license make a driver safe? When Ms. Cousins says she is “advocating for comprehensive immigration reform,” she really means: I want more law-breaking and border crashing; I want a giant flashing neon sign on our southern border screaming ILLEGAL ALIENS WELCOME, COME ON IN!

I have a question. Are Cuomo and company fools or liars? I think they’re both. They are sure we’re fools, but we are not. New York’s taxpayers are voting with their feet, and the population drain continues.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Democrats have no principles. A bold statement, to be sure, but I can back it up. Just watch Governor Cuomo twisting himself into a logical pretzel over SALT (state and local taxes.) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as the Trump tax cuts, passed in December of 2017, limiting the amount of state and local taxes deductible on federal income tax returns to $10,000. This effects only wealthy taxpayers. Who else has deductions of state and local taxes of $10,000 or more?

Cuomo and his Democrat buddies run New York. They have held every statewide office since 2007 and enjoy a 2:1 advantage in voter registration. Democrats are always trying to increase taxes on the “rich.” They have demonized the rich

since FDR – he called them “princes of privilege” and “economic royalists.” Now Democrats call them greedy, selfish and so on. This is as dumb as it is cynical. So when the Republicans limited the SALT deduction, effectively raising taxes on the wealthy, you would think Democrats would be rubbing their hands in glee. But no, they were angry. They blamed Trump and his Republican colleagues for raising taxes on the wealthy – which wouldn’t be possible if Cuomo and company hadn’t raised them to begin with.

The following may be too sensible for most Democrats to grasp, but state and local taxes are the responsibility of the states and localities. What Cuomo is angry about is that his high taxes are no longer subsidized by other states with lower taxes. Cuomo and his cronies are now exposed, they have to own the effects of their “tax the rich” policies, and he is not happy.

New York is now facing a shortfall in projected revenue of $3.2 billion, the direct result of wealthy New Yorkers leaving the state. Cuomo calls this “serious as a heart attack.” The top 1% of New York’s highest earners pay 46% of all taxes. Maybe Democrats should now love the rich; 46% of all taxes sounds like the rich are “paying their fair share.” A reporter asked if the state should yet again raise taxes on the rich.” Cuomo said, “Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did! Now, God forbid the rich leave.” When average New Yorkers leave the state, as they have been, Cuomo is unfazed. We’ve lost 1.9 million people between 2005 to 2016, well before the SALT limitations took effect. First Cuomo blamed the weather for the New York exodus, now he blames Republicans.

Democrats (progressives) love taxes and regulations and hate incentives, which is what is needed. In the competition between the states for jobs, taxpayers wealthy and not, New York is the loser. Cuomo never mentioned the things that would bring people back to the state, a meaty tax cut and a corresponding reduction in New York state’s bloated government.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


It’s going to be a very Merry Christmas for New York State lawmakers and bureaucrats, who are poised to get a lavish pay raise. As of now, Assemblymen and Senators receive $79,500 per year for a part-time job. The proposed pay increase would boost their pay to a whopping $130,000 by 2021, an increase of $50,500, or 64%. Naturally, our so-called leaders fobbed this decision off to a commission so their fingerprints won’t be on it – a weak attempt at plausible deniability. The commission will render a decision soon. Any bets on their recommendation?



(Greedy Albany politicians grow fat while New Yorkers suffer.)


Republican Senate Minority leader (in January 2019) John Flanagan and Democrat Assembly Speaker Carl Hastie are foursquare behind the gluttonous increase. Senators and legislators from NYC and its suburbs are behind it. The Governor loves the idea, too, saying, “We’re trying to get quality people into state government and frankly, we are non-competitive.” Non-competitive, non-moral and non-competent too. But the great pay bump comes at a steep price, says the commission and the greed-friendly newspapers. If approved, our lawmakers will be allowed to make only 15% of their income from sources outside their elective office. This is supposed to curb corruption. If approved, this would make New York lawmakers the highest paid in the nation.

But that’s not all. The heads of agencies currently make from $90,000 to $136,000. Under the proposal their salaries will jump to $220,000 by 2021. As of now the Comptroller and Attorney General make $151,500, which is scheduled to bump up to $220,000. Cuomo’s salary will jump from $179,000 to $250,000. (The last pay raise was in 1998.)

According to the latest census data, the median household income for New Yorkers is $64,894. The median per capita income in the state is $37,156. Cuomo recently said, “You want to get talented people into the legislature. You have to pay them a salary that allows them to live and not be a martyr.”

You read it right. If an Assemblyman makes 79.5 K, he’s a martyr. That’s more than twice the income of many New Yorkers. Do agency heads and commissioners need to make five times the earnings of the average New Yorker? In this state, we have high taxes, less personal freedom, slow economic growth (especially upstate,) population loss (especially upstate,) no deal on state mandates, infrastructure in disrepair. In the real world outside of government, raises are based on productivity. Is this a record that deserves a raise?

Democrats are always bleating about income inequality – the exception being when it involves their income. Then it’s equality be damned.



( Who owns the government us or Albany politicians?)


This proposal solidifies the Albany government as a permanent ruling class: well paid, well-connected and safe in their incumbency. They will be groomed for government, work in government and retire from government—knowing nothing of life outside of government. Don’t tell Cuomo and his fellow Democrats this, but government does not have a dime that it doesn’t first take from someone who, by the sweat of her brow, earned it.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in his 1964 State of the Union address, saying, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” Johnson wanted to “break the cycle of poverty” and “make taxpayers out of tax-eaters.” In the 54 years since war was declared, we have spent over 22 trillion dollars on anti-poverty programs, three times the cost of all the wars America has ever fought. And yet, the poverty rate remains unchanged. This is sadly true in cities across upstate New York. Unfortunately for those trapped in poverty, progressive solutions remain the go-to for elected officials and journalists alike.

An article by Jeff Platsky appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette on September 13th 2018. The link appears below.

Platsky cites the American Community Survey, which finds that three upstate cities are in the top 25 in the nation in child poverty and overall poverty.

Rochester has 56.4% of its children living in poverty, third worst in the nation, and 32.3% of its people in poverty, 12th worst nationally.

In Syracuse, 47.4% of children live in poverty, 10th worst, and 32.4 % overall are below the poverty line, 9th worst.

Buffalo has 43.6% of its children living in poverty, 17th worst in the nation, and 29.6% of its citizens in poverty, 24th worst nationally.

These numbers ought to set off alarm bells across New York State, hearings in the NYS Senate and Assembly, heated questions to the Governor and other Democrat leaders, and scathing editorials from Buffalo to Albany. But there’s been nary a peep. Why?

For his part, Platsky interviews the 14-term Assemblyman and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D), who says these numbers should be a call to action for New York. Morelle blames uneven job growth, industrial loss and the old standby, “structural racism.”

These cities have been decaying for as long as Morelle has been in the Assembly. Morelle is the second highest ranking Democrat in the Assembly. He helps set the legislative agenda. Democrats run the Assembly and, notably, all these cities. Rochester has had Democrat mayors since 1970. Syracuse had Democrat mayors from 1970 to 2017; an independent now runs the city. As for Buffalo, it has been run by Democrats since 1966. Democrats occupy every statewide office and have done so for 12 years.

Several things are apparent. The war on poverty is an abject failure. The promise was to end poverty, but poverty is alive and well. The progressive idea that big government can solve individual and family problems should be put to rest once and for all. Yet it lives. Why? And why do people who live in continual poverty keep voting for the same people?

Platsky never asks Morelle about government policy on the state or federal level. This allows Morelle to answer as a bystander and not a policy maker. Platsky’s article reads like: “One day poverty happened – who knows how or why?” Here are some questions he should have asked: Mr. Morelle, you’ve been in the New York State Assembly for 28 years, several as Majority Leader. Are you in part responsible for this? Mr. Morelle, is the 54-year-old war on poverty a failure? You said structural racism was in part responsible. Could you define that term and tell us exactly who is discriminating against the residents of Rochester, Buffalo et. al.? Mr. Morelle, your party has been in charge of the state and these cities. Does the Democrat party bear any responsibility for the poverty in upstate cities?

The press never questions the effectiveness of progressive policies and never asks Democrats about those failures. Therefore, the unfortunate residents of these cities never hear a critique of the policies that keep them in poverty.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

First Pundit Night Remarks

I was pleased to participate in Dr. Coleman’s political pundit night on 9/12/18 to answer the question: Is Tom Reed a success or failure? Naturally, I answered that Tom is a success. In a state absent conservative governing principles, Tom Reed is a breath of fresh air. But the heavily progressive audience did not agree. Most listened politely to my remarks. I’m guessing they totally disagreed with me, which is fine. Some, however shouted, laughed and were rude. We expect such behavior from some on the left. It’s right from their playbook: when you have no argument, mock and harass. We don’t let their childish tactics deter us. My brief speech follows. Please note that the text below is mostly in the form I used to deliver the speech. The next pundit night is in late October to discuss President Trump and the midterm elections. I’m looking forward to it and I thank Dr. Coleman for inviting me and for trying to get people from opposite sides of the political spectrum to talk to each other.

Dr. Coleman, fellow pundits, ladies and gentlemen.

I have good news and I have bad news.

First the bad news.

Upstate New York is in a generations-long death spiral.

In a 1962 speech to the Economic Club of New York,

President John F. Kennedy noted

the chronically depressed areas upstate.”

Ladies and gentlemen – that was 56 years ago.

According to the Federal Tax Agency,

New York State has the highest combined taxes in the nation.

Chief Executive Magazine rates NYS with the second worst business climate in the country.

Meanwhile – upstate continues to de-populate.

From 2000–2016 NYS lost 14% of its population to other states.

NY leads the nation in population loss.

In the recent debate between Governor Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon

they spent 10 seconds on upstate, and zero seconds on tax reduction, the

awful business climate, and population loss.

That is no accident.

Because – upstate’s decline is the direct result of their progressive policies.

That’s the bad news.

Now the good news. Tom Reed stands like a lighthouse—his ideas, a beacon to

point our way out of the mess we’re in—and to warn us to avoid Democrat policies. policies that have failed us for 60 years.

Tom stands for lower taxes, less government and the inevitable result-


Tom spoke at a “Defend Private Property Rights” rally to support victims of Cuomo’s fracking ban. Who were the victims? Farmers, union men and women;

electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders. Regular folks looking for work, a chance to make it.

Tom fights for them.

Tom voted for the Trump tax cuts, keeping $1,474 in the pockets of married couples with 2 children in the 23rd Congressional District — an 18% tax cut.

Last February, Tom threw the wasteful Omnibus spending bill under the bus,

a gutsy, common-sense vote.

Tom introduced the “Reduce” act to help middle-class families by reducing the cost of college and to make academia more transparent, a desperately needed reform. Tom supports school choice to give minority children a chance at success

by escaping failing public schools. In New York, Tom Reed is one of the few

commonsense conservative voices in a room crowded with incompetent


We desperately need his voice, here and in Washington.

He’s a runaway success.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.



The other day, I went to our local DMV in Corning to renew my driver’s license, which seemed a mundane enough activity. Little did I know I was about to journey through the looking glass.

To look at the building sitting high on a hill, you’d never guess that the DMV is located there. The only sign says, “WARNING SIDEWALK UNDER REPAIR.” The main entrance sits at the top of the concrete steps. You can’t take the steps, which are torn apart, but no signs indicate where you’re supposed to go. I stumbled around until I found a way in.

The building is a magnificent old courthouse fronted by Greek columns. Inside are marble floors, a graceful winding staircase, a vaulted ceiling and intricate molding of the type found only in buildings constructed in the late 1800’s. It was a time when people were well-mannered. My, how things have changed.

The signs inside said Line One and Line Two, but it was unclear who was supposed to stand in which line or where the lines began. I was one of a few early arrivals. We were all confused, looking at each other questioningly. We waited in front of a massive iron grate, and somewhat later than the advertised opening time of 8:30 AM, the grate slowly and noisily rolled up to reveal counters, computers and two scowling DMV clerks. It was immediately clear they had flunked the customer service course. Their faces said, “approach with caution.”

The clerk in front of me, looking annoyed, said not “Good morning” but “Who’s next?” which would seem to be a rhetorical question, since I was first in line. He never looked at me or spoke to me while he looked over my paperwork. At last satisfied, he barked, “Read the top line.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I said, “I’m sorry?” He said, “Eye exam.” Baffled, I asked, “Where?” He gestured to a wall plastered with black-and-white leaflets, in the middle of which was a well-camouflaged black-and-white eye chart. I read it and he said, “Line number two.” “Did I pass the eye test?” I asked. Still looking everywhere but at me, he growled, “Yes.”

I had come up in the world; I graduated to Line Two. I moved to where I thought Line Two was. I looked at the others waiting back in Line One, who were smiling, shaking their heads, rolling their eyes or shrugging in resignation. Their faces said, “Yes, we’re paying these people to treat us like crap.”

Now my wait in Line Two began. No one was staffing it. After ten minutes I caught a clerk’s eye and, smiling, I asked, “How long?” Sounding bored, she said, “As soon as they’re done in the back.” Minutes dragged by, more people arriving, more sympathetic smiles and eye-rolling among the crowd. A couple in their mid-60’s walked in, confused about where to stand. The woman said, pointing to my lonely spot on Line Two, “Do we line up here?” “Oh, no,” I chuckled, “This is Line Two, apparently it’s my own private line. I think you belong on Line One.” I stood for another ten minutes and finally a clerk from the back made her way to the counter and the steel door in front of Line Two ground open. This clerk didn’t look at me either. She called, “Who’s next?” I glanced behind me – I was alone – and said, “Must be me.”

When at last my business was complete, the woman I had spoken with earlier finally made it to Line Two. She said, “We’re moving back here from Colorado and we’re getting New York licenses and registering our vehicles.” I said with some irony, glancing at the DMV clerks, “Welcome to New York!” A knowing smile flashed across her face. “Thank you. I know New York, the bureaucrats rule and we obey.”

In the age of instant information, it took 45 minutes to renew my driver’s license, and it was an endurance test complete with uncivil civil servants. All I could think was, “Thank God these people aren’t running our health care.”

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.