Schenectady County

No pay raise without funding for mandates

Were we veterans gamed by our governor and legislators?


In trying to understand the crafters of the unfunded Alternative Veterans Exemption (AVE), there are obvious considerations for what the governor and like-minded legislators had intended.

The crafters figured that all local school districts would have a majority of taxpayers willing to fund the AVE because of the veterans’ service. Veterans are, after all, a much-admired and respected group. Who would dare balk at any unfunded legislation?

The crafters could dismiss or ignore any backlash from the state Department of Education, any local board of education, and any whimpering from individual taxpayers. Once any nominal resistance subsided, the governor and legislators had a win-win situation. No money was allocated while they endeared themselves to veterans and their supporters. Perhaps even the divisive attitudes between the vets and non-vets over who is paying for the AVE would simultaneously subside. I’m either cynical or spot-on, but I wonder if the crafty crafters of this legislation didn’t want it to be funded for a dubious reason? What if the governor and legislators were mulling over the possibility of an imminent pay raise? What if the source of that funding had limitations? What if the AVE and anticipated legislator raises were not possible with both being funded, especially if the legislator raises were substantial or hefty?

Perhaps if significant raises are “in the works” for next year, leave the AVE unfunded and let the locals worry about it, not the state. If true, we veterans were gamed by our own governor and legislators. That would be most self-serving and egregious.

Part-time legislators are not paid to be part-time thinkers. Think about vets, not just yourselves. It is a gross disservice to those who have served our country so honorably. My idea: Unfunded mandates equal no pay raise. If we, as a state, cannot afford to fund one, then we should not afford to fund the other. Those who served deserve something better.



Categories: Letters to the Editor

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