For all the publicity it has received you could be excused from entering the polls today to elect local candidates and finding to your surprise constitutional amendments listed on the reverse side of your ballot. Our New York State Constitution is written to spell out the duties and limits of our state government and the basic rights of citizens. With little time and scant information Cuomo is asking the historically low off year electorate to make changes to our constitution. The changes he is looking to foster on New York State residents and the reasons are listed below. (http://www.elections.ny.gov/ProposedConsAmendments.html)
Proposal number one: The amendment is asking for permission to open seven additional casinos in New York State outside of five existing on Indian lands and nine “racinos”. The reasons are stated as gambling will promote job growth and lower taxes. (Will it lower them as much as the lottery did?) After spending fifty million in lobbying and one million to help elect Cuomo the gaming industry investment is looking like a good one. Even the Sands of Las Vegas gave Cuomo $54,000. One proposal that did not make it into this version of the amendment is to prohibit the gaming industry from contributing to politicians. It is easy to see why Cuomo supports this amendment, should we?
Proposal Number two: This involves the veterans, civil service exams and appointments. Currently veterans receive bonus points when taking exams and when considered for promotions within civil service. The amendment revolves around disable veterans who are certified disabled after the test results or promotions are granted. The newly disabled veteran can add more points to his score after the fact. How many people does this really affect or is this just a "made for campaign" change to prove Cuomo and his friends in Albany support our troops. Our troops deserve our support, do they deserve extra points for wining a disability claim, you decide.
Proposal Number three: Allows towns and villages continue for another ten years (since 1963) to borrow past their debt limits for sewage facilities. Why do we have the limits if they are not enforced? Wouldn’t this make government more transparent if the costs were out in the open? Could it be that compliance with EPA regulations would bankrupt towns and cities if the real costs mandated from Washington were know to the voters immediately? Should any costs be outside the constitutional debt limit, use your constitutional right to vote to let them know.
Proposal Number four: Really just a land swap for some disputed Adirondack land. It appears the towns approve, the state approves but for good reason straight land swaps are illegal under the state constitution. It is up to us voters to decide on a case by case basis, this is one.
Proposal Number Five: Another land swap for NYCO mining operations in the Adirondack Park. This is one of the reasons land swaps are illegal with protected land. The only estimate claims “dozens” of jobs will be lost if this is not approved. (If jobs are needed why the moratorium on fracking?). The type of mining operation in question to expand into the park is a pit mine. Not quite strip mining but it looks the same. (See (http://bit.ly/1a4XbCv) satellite image for Lewis Quarry) The claim is NYCO would “donate” a million dollars worth of land to the park. If you believe "we can keep our park pristine if we like them" vote yes to strip mining.
Proposal number six: Up the mandatory retirement age for judges from 76 and 70 to 80 years old. Most New Yorkers did not realize there was a shortage of lawyers in New York and finding replacements was that difficult. Shouldn’t judges get the benefit of living under their rulings with their families? You decide
Each one of these proposals was released in the middle of the night for our representatives to vote on. (Like the SAFE for criminals act) Each was released with less than the three days review as required by our state constitution. For these reasons alone each one should be voted down.