Copyright © 1993 - 2009 Jim Sutliff All rights reserved.
Finance and Technology are major driving forces in our economy today. We need to support economic development by providing tax incentives for technology and finance companies to locate in New York. A great deal of the growth in New York City's employment has come from these sectors. We should expand the development throughout the city with the creation of tech corridors in all of the outer boroughs.
We need to rethink our approach to education in New York. For our children to succeed in today's evolving economy, we must bring their education up to higher standards. We need to insure that computer skills are taught early on in a child's education, and that every child, regardless of income, has access to the tools that they need to succeed. There needs to be a greater emphasis on math and science in our schools so that students can compete in the marketplace of tomorrow. We need to insure that our schools receive the proper wiring and equipment, and that our teachers receive the professional development needed to teach computer skills.
School vouchers are another important issue in education. When the public school system does not meet their needs, parents should be able to send their children to a school of their choice. Our children deserve the best education available
Energy is one of the most important issues facing New York and the nation. Energy independence should be a primary goal of all administrations.
In New York, we can provide additional tax incentives for conversion to solar power. It is essential to move American households to renewable energy. A preference should be placed on solar due to the independence that it would provide families. Increased incentives can also be given to companies for Research and Development. An investment in R & D today will pay greater dividends tomorrow.
On a national level there needs to be wide scale investment on the part of the government. The result of private investment and government spending will also benefit areas that have suffered economic declines. Energy policy has to be more comprehensive. Alternative energy sources are essential for a well-rounded energy policy. Renewable energy sources such as Solar and Wind are key components that must be expanded. In addition, the vast oil shale deposits in the west have to be developed. Oil shale, "the rock that burns", can provide America with more energy than all of Saudi Arabia. Also, there must be more natural gas exploration and domestic oil drilling. These actions coupled with an expansion of the strategic petroleum reserves will lower the volatility of the energy markets.
At the same time we must use appropriate measures to protect the environment. Any additional development should have sufficient oversight from state and federal environmental agencies.The allocation of funds for the expansion of these agencies should be a top priority.
There needs to be a comprehensive overhaul on how land use decisions are made in this city. Most land use codes were developed in the 1920s when people lived walking distance to their jobs. Today, we still have zoning that allows industrial and commercial uses directly on top of residential housing. These antiquated zoning rules contribute to the over-development of communities. While neighborhoods need to grow and evolve, careful planning needs to go into the process. Currently, our community boards are unresponsive to the neighborhoods that they represent. Community residents should receive more information regarding construction and development projects within their districts. There should be a traffic study as well as adequate environmental impact statements for all major projects to avoid long-term problems.
In 2003, the New York State Senate supported and passed the largest tax increase in New York State history. Even after Governor Pataki vetoed the tax hikes, the State Senate cast their votes to override the veto. Rather than make voluntary cuts in discretionary spending, the State Senate instead chose to raise income and sales taxes to an even higher level. This is simply unacceptable.
New York has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. We are losing jobs to other states as well as to foreign lands. More companies are choosing to outsource as a means of saving money. We need to focus on reducing the tax burden on individuals as well as on businesses. A friendly climate for business will be a significant factor in achieving a broad-based recovery. In addition, we must put an end to wasteful government spending. Not a dime of taxpayer money should go towards supporting phantom government projects. Any and all discretionary spending should face the careful scrutiny of an audit.
The current system of nominating judicial candidates needs to be reformed. Patronage and court appointments need to be looked at with more scrutiny. Judges, clerks, and court attorneys should face routine review. It is time to bring back confidence in the court system and get the backroom bosses out of the process.
The public sector is replete with organizational dinosaurs. Public money is squandered away needlessly on a constant basis. There needs to be a different mode of thinking brought to the public sector. Applying sound financial principles and management theories can radically transform the public sector and have it resemble a well-run private business. Rather than be void of creativity, lacking true organization, and be without the necessary technological innovations that today's information society demands. Many agencies are organized in an archaic structure and are suffocating under their own rules and regulations. There is a real lack of understanding on how the private sector works, which may be why there are hundreds of regulations that hurt business but do very little good for the public. Agencies should be required to do impact statements before enacting new regulations that can hurt business.