Low-paying jobs harm community

I was fascinated by two separate articles (March 26), one on the upstate-downstate divide; the other on health-care reform. Both assigned blame to public employees’ rights and benefits. Though indirect, those artful wordsmiths at this paper conveyed that message in both pieces.

First, the “opinionews” piece on the upstate-downstate divide where the author stirs in the SAFE Act, minimum wage, the Taylor Act and the Triborough Amendment concocting a soupy mix with more than a touch of blame against public employees who are “compensated” for “not having the right to strike.” The writer then arbitrarily pulls some national salaries to compare against public employees’ salaries in New York state.

A quick check of labor statistics from 2015 shows a job in business operations has a national average of $73,800, but in NYS, the average is $91,850. Fundraiser’s average national salary is $57,170, but in NYS, it is $61,700. Accountants and auditors’ average national salary is $75,280, but in NYS, it is $93,770. It appears that more than just public employees beat the national average.

Second was the editorial taking issue with the failed American Health Care Act, and in particular, an amendment called Faso-Collins. The amendment would shift the cost of Medicaid to the state instead of on local property owners. The writer’s conclusion was “the loss of Medicaid funds may also, finally, force a major debate in Albany about the cost of other state mandates, particularly the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor law.” Let’s not bother looking at programs such as the “Buffalo Billion” where 10 people related to the programs have been indicted for bribery and bid-rigging. Nor should we look at “Start-Up NY,” which cost taxpayers millions of dollars for approximately 400 jobs. No, clearly public employees, the taxes they pay and the money they spend in the community, are the root of problem.

This paper continues to advocate for low-paying, no-benefit jobs that continue to harm this community. The Fiscal Policy Institute published a study that showed the top 1 percent average salary in New York state is 45 times higher than the bottom 99 percent average salary. Only when good-paying jobs with decent benefits are afforded to all will we see Fulton County move more positively. In the meantime, I will continue to use my 400 words to suggest that building everyone up is better.

RON BRIGGS

CSEA Capital Region

president

Gloversville