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State wrong to buy land

October 28, 2012
The Leader Herald

The government of New York state continues to run annual billion-dollar budget deficits, and yet the state government, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, continues to buy up private land under pressure from non-profit environmental protection organizations.

Due to a serious legal miscalculation by the state's attorneys, a federal court ruled in fall 2008 that the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District could no longer assess headwater benefits fees on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensed hydroelectric companies (doctrine of federal preemption). This ruling drastically reduced the district's cash flow, and as a result, the district has been unable to pay its land and school taxes. In the meantime, Fulton County and Saratoga County have been stuck with the tab.

Moreover, the district is attempting to impose an indirect ad-valorem tax on property owners in several counties downstream from the Great Sacandaga Lake to make up the difference. This amounts to taxation without representation. Anyone remember that term from U.S. history class?

Cuomo needs to reorder his priorities. Using taxpayer money - other people's money - to buy more land for the Forest Preserve while not paying the bills of a state-owned corporation is extremely irresponsible and hypocritical; anyone who behaves this way doesn't get my vote for a higher office.

Finally, if the organizations which hold the former Finch Pruyn land are so hell-bent on putting land into the public domain, then they should either gift it to the state or, if they cannot afford to do so, then they should either start actively managing the land for a profit like many other landowners or sell it to the highest bidder.





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