EDITORIAL – Last Week Our State Legislature Gave Away The Middle Class

The good news about end of New York Legislature’s end of Session debates in Albany last week is that the discussions were respectful and reasonable….reasonable in the sense that each lawmaker gave reasons for the laws they wanted passed.  But some of the reasons  given were outrageously unreasonable.  They funded and funded things that many in the middle class cannot afford to help pay for, and are financially foolish at a time when inflation is already taking a heavy toll on most middle class families. Talk of limits on income and property taxes ignores the elephant in the room, school taxes. And now, more foolish spending.  In the ultimate ridiculous decision, and having the legislature’s majority (democrat) votes, they chose to pass a law that will require that all commercial fuel tanks must be painted white, EVEN THE ONES BURIED UNDERGROUND.  This includes ALL gas stations, and those would have to be dug back up first.  This because someone with a commercial tank company told a lawmaker that there are more emissions that could cause environmental health risks from a dark or other colored tank, except for beige, because white will reflect rather than absorb the sunlight…Oh, if not white then they can be painted beige.  By and large this was a law proposed by the democrats in the legislature, and the republicans were against it.  One asked “What difference would it make if the tank is  buried underground anyway?”  Another said “My understanding is that it’s just at the connections where there can be any leaking. Why not just paint the connecting pieces white, or beige?”  Yet another lawmaker wanted to know “What kind of scientific studies have been done to indicate this problem.”   The answer was “None that I know of, but tankmakers seem to agree.”  Yet another cautioned “The VOC’s in painting all of these tanks will probably cause more harm in emissions that it will prevent.”   One lawmaker, beginning to lose patience,  raised his voice and said “Do you realize this is going to cost BILLIONS of dollars. Just who is going to pay for it, plus the labor costs?”  And finally, several said “IF it helps at all, wouldn’t it make sense to paint them white or beige the NEXT time they need to be painted, or when finishing new ones?” But this time the democrats had the votes, as they did on most laws being considered on the last day of the session.  Not that there aren’t instances in our recent lawmaking where republicans offer 100% votes on something that doesn’t entirely make sense.  But the reasonableness of the thing being voted on is not even the main issue, which is the fact that that just about everything these days is voted on as a “party vote”, is a sign of an increasingly faulty process. It reflects a process that does not include in depth discussion between members of different parties.  It highlights that allegiance is trumped by party these days MOST of the time. We knew that….but we see party politics continuing to grow daily, and that is frightening. Does it suggest that some members have not carefully thought the issues out, but rather take a short cut and vote with their friends?

That is wrongminded. It’s bad for our local communities, and bad for America.

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