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EDITORIAL: More wasteful spending. You OK with that?

EDITORIAL: More wasteful spending. You OK with that?

Too many needs going unmet due to unnecessary, wasteful government spending

Wants vs. needs. Wants vs. needs. Wants vs needs. Wants vs. needs.

We say it over and over again because politicians can’t seem to tell the difference between the two when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

New Yorkers want many things. But just because they want them doesn’t mean they should have them, nor should they expect other taxpayers to pay for them.

We ran an editorial on Friday about a comptroller’s report highlighting $12 million in wasteful spending on state highway rest areas. What other more important, necessary things could this $12 million have been spent on?

Wants vs. needs. Wants vs. needs.

On Thursday, we wrote about an extraordinary benefit awarded to Schenectady school teachers that allows them to receive a check upon retirement for up to 400 sick days they didn’t use over the course of their teaching careers. 

What other needs does the district have that are going unmet because taxpayers have to fork over more than $650,000 this year to teachers who are no longer teaching?

Wants vs. needs. Wants vs. needs.

And while we’re beating this drum for the zillionth time, we’re reminded of the desire by state and local officials in Amsterdam to enhance their pedestrian bridge with expensive artwork, bought and paid for by state and local taxpayers.

The bridge itself cost $17 million in taxpayer money. Amsterdam people wanted it. But did they need it? And do they need $650,000 in sculptures, the last of which was erected recently?

We’re all for having nice things. We’re all for artwork enhancing the public experience. But at what cost?

New York has so many unmet needs — aging sewer and water pipes, cracked roads and old bridges that can no longer handle the traffic they were designed to handle, so many social services going unmet, poor kids are going to school without food, an out-of-control opioid crisis to battle, just to name a few.

With so much that needs to be done that isn’t getting done because the state doesn’t have enough money, should we really be allocating state and local tax dollars to sculptures to enhance a glorified foot bridge that wasn’t even needed for people to walk across the river?

We know, you’ve heard it all before. 

And we know there are thousands of other wanted but unnecessary projects in other communities that our tax dollars are paying for. So why shouldn’t Amsterdam get nice sculptures out of the deal if it wants them?

Well, if you’re going to have that attitude, then you’d better stop complaining about the high taxes in this state. You’d better stop escaping to Florida when the going gets tough.

If you’re OK with our state and local governments spending your hard-earned tax dollars on wants at the expense of our state’s many needs, then you’d better not bail when the bills come due.

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