Readers Write: More reasons why Pataki was a failed governor

Here are even more reasons why “Gov George Pataki: Forgotten Man” (On the Right by George Marlin – Nov. 8) rings true. 

No one who truly believed in limited government, balanced budgets, reduction in long term debt and support for the free enterprise system signed up for former Republican Gov. George Pataki’s ill-fated presidential campaigns. Each time, Pataki never got out of the starting gate.   

 Pataki’s lavish spending of taxpayer dollars to special interest groups to grease his 2002 re-election for his third and last term made the late liberal Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller roll over in his grave! 

His record deficits, excessive spending and late budgets give real conservative Republicans pain.  

Spending in Patkai’s last 2006 budget was more than twice the rate of inflation. This budget contained almost $1 billion worth of legislative members pork-barrel projects, known as member items, along with a potential deficit in the billions. 

Under Gov. Pataki’s tenure, with bipartisan support of the state Legislature (including both Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Leader Joseph Bruno both of whom went on to resign years later due to corruption charges), borrowing for quasi-government agencies grew by billions of dollars. 

The combined budgets for dozens of these agencies ran into the tens of billions of dollars.  In many cases, these expenditures are tracked offline and not counted as part of the regular budget. 

Even worse, they are exempt from basic oversight by both the New York State comptroller and state Legislature.  

In 2006, Albany’s three-way dance between Pataki, Bruno and Silver continued.  Career politicians, on a bipartisan basis, still operate the same closed-door budget process.   Albany’s $115 Billion budget was greater than most states and many nations.

New York State was ranked No. two among the 50 states in debt with each resident responsible for $3,515 of the $50 billion total debt. 

Under “TaxPaki,” state debt grew from $27 billion in 1995 to $50 billion in 2006.  Projected future red ink raised this debt to $54 billion by 2009. New York State public authorities’ debt is an additional $72 billion.  These combined debts plus future interest total $187 billion dollars!      

Under Pataki’s political leadership, Republicans lost or were unable to regain numerous public offices.  This list includes two Senate seats, eight Congressional seats, state comptroller and attorney general, county executives of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, New York City Comptroller, New York City Public Advocate and five New York City Council seats. 

His approval of the 2002 reapportionment plan for the State Assembly allowed Democrats to gerrymander so many seats, the GOP  became a permanent minority with only 44 of 150 seats. 

Democrats needed only four more seats to take control of the state Senate. Enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 2 statewide. The returns in the November 2006 election resulted in even more defeats for GOP candidates.

Pataki, Senators Schumer and Clinton had a mutual nonaggression pact. Each would talk the talk. but not walk the walk when it came time to actually support or share their respective massive campaign finance machines with fielding challengers to each other.  This was necessary if one wanted to run a serious candidate against each other when running for reelection.

Just like the cowardly lion from the land of Oz, Pataki would not run against either Schumer in 2004 or 2010.  Ditto for Sen. Clinton in 2000 or 2006 or Sen. Gillibrand in 2012.  

His public service announcements at taxpayers expense kept running while he ran around the country in 2006, trying to position himself for a 2008 presidential run.  In New York, he left the GOP in ruins from which it has never recovered.

Intelligent Republican Party presidential primary voters look past glitzy campaign commercials to a potential President’s past leadership, management style, philosophy and political track record. 

Pataki’s fiscal mismanagement and his presiding over the destruction of the GOP as an effective opposition party within New York was not overlooked. 

Republican presidential primary voter never wanted to inflict the Pataki virus on a national level.  Native New York Republicans who knew Pataki best denied him the ability to carry New York as a favorite son candidate. 

Having been out of office for many years, his pay-for-play campaign contributors abandoned him long ago.  They ran for the hills to place their bets on other far superior candidates. 

Pataki wrote his own political obituary long ago.  Except in his mind and personal ego, Pataki has been irrelevant in politics, since leaving public office at the end of 2006 13 years ago.

Larry Penner

Great Neck



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