Thursday, August 22, 2013

Below is the exact text of an editorial that came out today in the Times Herald Record.  I particularly liked the line that I bolded.
The Ulster County sales tax dispute of 2013 appears to be a local issue, a clash between the county executive and the county's most prominent legislator, with neither willing to give in.
Actually, it is much more than that because while a local standoff is always educational, the underlying cause is located well north of Kingston, in the chambers of the New York State Assembly and Senate and in the antiquated rules that members follow without regard for their detrimental effects.
Those rules need to be changed.
Albany needs to stop giving extraordinary powers to individuals who have done little more than faithfully follow the orders of their political bosses, no matter how disreputable those bosses may be. It needs to adjust its procedures to keep important legislation from having to withstand repeated tests where political clout is more important than public policy.
Because he unilaterally forced Ulster County to lower its sales tax rate, Kevin Cahill, a veteran Assembly Democrat, is now surrounded by critics of both parties. Yet if those critics, especially state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, are serious, they must do more than ask Cahill for something that is well beyond his power — bringing the Assembly back into session for a new vote on the tax — and work instead to change the rules that allowed this to happen in the first place.
Chances are they will not do much because they, like Cahill, want to hold on to these extraordinary and undeserved powers. The only reason they are ganging up on Cahill this time is because, for once, things did not turn out the way they expected.
This all started when Cahill blocked consideration of a bill allowing Ulster County to keep collecting a sales tax at its current level, above the state-mandated percentage for such local taxes.
He said that this was consistent with his fundamental principle that sales taxes are regressive, harming those with the least ability to pay. So far this year, the governor has signed 36 pieces of legislation approving either an increase in the local sales tax or permission to keep a local sales tax above the state minimum. In all 36 cases, Cahill voted no, consistent with his principles.
But in the 37th case, the bill sponsored by another member of the Assembly and a member of the Senate representing parts of Ulster County, Cahill did more than vote no. He used his power as an entrenched member of the Assembly Democratic majority to keep the bill from coming to a vote.
When the legislation concerned 36 other governments, including the neighboring counties of Sullivan and Orange, where many of Cahill's constituents shop, he was content to confine his actions to a vote. Only when it affected his home county did he flex his political muscles, leaving Ulster County to face layoffs, job elimination, curtailment of services and increases in other taxes to make up for the missing sales taxes.
The only principle involved was the one that it is now clear he adheres to most strongly, the principle that those who have the power in Albany get to wield it as they see fit.


Anonymous said...

Not sure i believe everything in this story. Cahill's whole family is dependent on the government. Are we to believe that Cahill would allow his family members to get laid off? His family members taxes to skyrocket through the roof?

No this is all about who has the bigger set. Cahill has been asking Hein to meet on this issue since January. Hein has refused.

Hein was about to reneg on his promise to have the County take over safety net by 2015 and Cahill called him on it. Something Hein is not use to.

This issue will resolve itself before the end of the year and nobody will get hurt. It is all political grandstanding. The Assembly will be called back in session for some other reason and this will pass.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that will be to late because city budget will need to be be approved by city of Kingston council meeting on Dec.3. Going in with less money will affect the budget for 2014. Damage done! Nobody gets hurt? Tell that to the taxpayer and the laid off worker.

Anonymous said...

I thought the City has until the end of the year to adopt the budget not December 3. It is highly likely the governor will have the assembly back before Thanksgiving. That is plenty of time to get the budget approved.

Nobody gets hurt. It is all a political grandstanding and nothing more. But, they are selling a lot of papers.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


You are mistaken. The budget is passed in early December. It may be amended later, but there are limitations.

Anonymous said...

So it can be done after December 3rd. I am not mistaken. In the past the council has scheduled meetings in late December for budget approval. It is really a mute point. When the Governor calls the assembly back to session
All Tuey does is change the numbers on his laptop and WALA new budget done in two seconds.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


It is not that easy.

What Kevin did has irresponsible.

He has caused unnecessary havoc.

Anonymous said...

And Hein is blameless? Only a narrow minded person would not see both sides here. Hein acted irresponsibly by keeping his refusal to negotiate secret until it was too late. He knew what would happen and if he didn't, then he shouldn't be in office.
Cahill was trying to get Hein to the table and he refused. Hein shares the blame even if it is for not speaking up, he shares the blame.

Anonymous said...

4:14. If you think playing havoc and mayhem on the taxpayers is OK then what else can I say.....! Just keep defending Kevin Cahill at all costs. Can we hear back from you if the issues has not been resolved by end of year? Might be singing another tune...

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


Hein is not the issue. Regardless of any agreements Hein made or did not make, Kevin still went too far. His actions result in the blame being on him. He went too far.

Anonymous said...

This says it all. "Regardless of any agreements Hein made or did not make"

If you honestly think people in responsible positions do not have to keep their word, then you are a lost cause.

In what are of life is it morally correct for a person to go back on their commitments and their word?

I am done with this blog.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


You continue to miss the point because you are a supporter of Kevin and cannot see things clearly.

Of course politicos should keep their word. But, even if Mike broke his word, Kevin has to respond in a responsible way. He did not.

Anonymous said...

9:22. As the saying goes "two wrongs don't make it right" There is enough blame for Hein and Cahill but Cahill was left holding the cards at the table. He folded and left the table. When his actions counted the most he lost the bet and left us taxpayers in the lurch.