April 05, 2006

Wasted Time, Wasted Money

There is nothing worse than a group of politicians who are willing to waste time and money to pander to voters.

That's what the Suffolk County Legislature is doing now with its absurd plan to study alternate tax methods to fund school districts.

Yes, school budgets are rising rapidly, and the property owners who fund them are feeling the bite. That's really not what legislators are concerned with — their motive is the instant sound bite, the campaign slogan in waiting: "He voted to reduce your property taxes."

The problems with this pie-in-the-sky concept are numerous. For one thing, cutting property taxes means an alternate tax — the amount of money needed remains the same. One proposal, to fund the school districts through income taxes, would be a disaster for East End residents, many of whom own houses here but have another legal address.

It's true county legislators have never much cared about the East End, but an attempt to shift the method of funding school districts would also face a barrage of legal challenges.

Suffolk legislators must know they don't yield the kind of authority to make changes of this magnitude. Not only would their recommendation likely be laughed off in Albany and Washington, but court challenges would surely render this thing moot.

These are little politicians in entry level government positions with limited authority who have trouble getting resolutions past the County Executive. That they would presume voters would buy this cockamamie and obvious empty promise is deplorable. It's akin to them voting to invade Iran or raise Social Security — no one would pay any attention except to laugh at them.

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