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May 24, 2009
Father-Son tag team in Albany
American Thinker has occasionally noted the enormous fiscal holes the governors of some states - with the assist of their state legislatures - have dug. New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and New York have been highlighted as examples of how not to run a state.
Bloated budgets-with exceedingly generous contracts for teachers, transit workers, government workers, and other union employees - have brought about crises in these states. Tax hikes to try to meet state balanced budget requirements have led to exoduses of both people and businesses from those states; people voting with their feet have only exacerbated the problem.
Now we have news that Dave Paterson, governor of New York State, who has been on a campaign to tax his citizens to the breaking point - has a father who has been richly rewarded for representing union workers over the years. The son and the governor enjoy a very close relationship; living very near each other (in rent-stabilized apartments) and they gab regularly about politics. That might not be the only subject they gab about, according to this New York Post article by James Fanelli and Isabel Vincent.
It turns out that the elder Paterson is a force in state politics. Says one legislator, ""It's very clear from this legislative session that [Basil] has a lot of influence." The legislator asks rhetorically how much the unions have sacrificed in Paterson's latest budget; "So far, not at all," he said.
Just who is Basil Paterson?
The elder Paterson is a senior partner at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, a Long Island-based law firm and lobbying juggernaut in Albany.
Basil Paterson's major clients included the local SEIU, teacher's unions, and transit workers - three of the most powerful unions in the state. Meyers Suozzi's clients included almost 40 unions.
Conflict of interest anyone?
The Post reporters list some strange coincidences where unions represented by Basil Paterson received benefits:
The family ties have led some observers to wonder if Basil was behind major policy decisions his son made in the last 10 months, including:
There was also an unusual directive that made it easier for hospitality workers to organize at new hotels and conventions centers that received state funding or tax breaks.
The SEIU, the transit union and the teachers union should be noted. They SEIU is closely linked with Barack Obama-its leader proudly stated that his union spent over 60 million dollars to elect Barack Obama, and has become a sub-branch of the executive branch of our government. Or so it seems, as a raft of executive orders and presidential steps have been signed and taken to help that union and its members. This includes threatening Californian that it would lose its stimulus funds if it tried to trim the wages of SEIU workers in that state.
The SEIU clearly works on the state political level, as well. The transit union members are the beneficiaries of gold-plated contracts that provide stellar medical care benefits and hugely generous pensions, that allow early and well-funded retirement. Despite the munificent contracts , they always are on the verge of striking and crippling the commuters of New York city.
The teachers' unions are a key constituency of the Democratic Party, and a particularly powerful force in New York. Despite salaries in New York city that are quite generous - even taking into accounting the cost of living in New York city - the educational stats show that taxpayers are not getting much for their money. However, it appears that unions are getting much for their money that they pay to the Governor's father to represent them in Albany.
But not to worry. Americans who live in responsibly governed states will come to the rescue. The stimulus bill will send billions to these fiscal basket cases to help them bail out of their own self-inflicted crises. That is you, Mr. and Mrs. America.
The Unionized States of America-here we come.