To: “Red” New York County Executives, Administrators, and County Legislators; Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino; Senator Cathy Young; Assemblyman Andy Goodell; Governor Cuomo; Congressman Tom Reed
From: Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots
Date: January 16, 2017
Re: Operation Push Back: regarding welfare reform and free college tuition
“RED” COUNTY ACTION NEEDED
The silent majority must work to break our state’s “death spiral” or
taxpayers will be further pressed under the governor’s “socialist” heel.
- Pressure your state legislators to initiate welfare reform. Give them a copy of Operation Push Back.
- Pressure state legislators to deny Cuomo’s free college tuition proposal.
The end of November, Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots sent you our document Operation Push Back. We urged “red” county executives to contact state legislators to implement welfare reform using the states of Maine and Kansas as models. These two states reduced their welfare rolls by 75% to 80%.
Missouri recently reduced its welfare rolls by removing 41,000 recipients. Missouri’s requirements are similar to those of Maine and Kansas: food stamps only for three months; recipients required to work at least 80 hours per month, participate in education and training program for 80 hours per month, or comply with a workfare program. Refusal to participate in these activities restricts food stamps to no more than three months every three years.
Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots and other conservative organizations support these actions. We acknowledge that some very elderly and disabled are in need of greater welfare provided by taxpayers. For all others, the goal should be to provide temporary support along with job-finding skills and job training.
Several states requested waivers from the federal government to allow them to ban junk food purchases with food stamps: Maine, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont. This would help curb obesity thus holding down Medicaid costs. It is expected that these requests will be fulfilled by a new administration.
NEW YORK: ONE OF SIX “SOCIALIST” DEATH SPIRAL STATES
According to TEAPARTY.org (Dec. 16, 2016), six “socialist” states and dozens of cities and municipalities are in danger of bankruptcy or collapse in the next recession. These states have too many “takers” and not enough “makers” (private sector workers) creating a near-certain death spiral. More reason to pressure state lawmakers to address welfare reform, along with another of the governor’s “socialist” proposals, free college tuition.
Here are the six death spiral states with the number of “takers” for every 100 “makers.”
STATE NUMBER DEPENDENTS PER 100
PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS
New Mexico 148
West Virginia 116
New York 108
A score under 100 means the state is on more solid ground.
Is Governor Cuomo aware of New York’s death spiral status? It would appear no—or he doesn’t care—based on his recent expensive proposals (The Post-Journal, Jan. 9, 2017): “New York state must stand as an alternative to Donald Trump showing the nation that tolerance, progressive policies like a higher minimum wage and investments in education can create an economy that works for all.”
The governor’s proposals, unsupported by solid data, come with high price tags for New York taxpayers. Based on current reports, his proposals are very unrealistic. Consider: The Post-Journal (Jan. 12, 2017) reported: “Local governments across the state are dealing with little to no growth in revenues, according to the New York State Comptroller’s Office.”
A review of the 2016 election results map shows that Donald Trump captured the majority of New York counties. Yet, the governor continues his diatribe against majority citizens of “red” counties—even fallaciously calling us “intolerant”—in his attempt to place us under his heel. Disgustingly, the governor has discounted the silent majority again! Truth be told, all those “red” county taxpayers are fed up with his liberal proposals! Remember: “New York Death Spiral!”
One state senator has written that New York state’s size may preclude it from implementing policies similar to Maine and Kansas—and now Missouri. This does not appear to be a valid argument, however, since each county would be responsible for enacting reform welfare policy, just as they do currently. The reasons for enactment are well-grounded no matter the size or challenges the state faces.
FREE COLLEGE TUITION
The governor proposes that full-time New York students from families earning less than $125,000 per year can enter two- or four-year colleges tuition free in the State University of New York system. He makes no mention of the effect of his proposal on New York’s private colleges, which surely would be considerable and negative.
Consider these data. According to the National Student Clearing House, less than a third of community college students earned a two-year degree and only an incredibly miniscule one-tenth of community college students went on to earn a four-year degree. These data exclude four-year state universities which are much more selective of students who enter.
Moreover, the majority of students who take remedial courses upon entering college never complete their college degrees! This is true if they take even one remedial course. Remedial courses in English language arts and mathematics don’t count toward the number of credits a student must earn, only add to student debt load.
The reason for such dismal performance? According to www.highereducation.org, the major culprit for low college graduation rates is lack of readiness for entering college. In other words, students exit high school under- or poorly-prepared.
Does everyone need to go to college? Don’t communities have high need for competent carpenters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and other trades? The governor makes no mention of training for these essential careers.
Governor Cuomo appears to be putting the cart before the horse. If the governor is serious about increasing the number of students who enter college and graduate,then the caliber of public K-12 education must be upgraded considerably. Based on the most recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Nation’s Report Card, the need for college remedial courses still will be high. Consider these NAEP data reported by The New York Times (April 27, 2016):
· Math scores dropped for high school seniors from 2013 to 2015
· The percentage of students prepared for college shows a drop from 39% in 2013 to 37% in 2015
· Scores in reading and math dropped for students in the lowest percentiles. The number of students scoring below “basic” in both subjects increased from 2013.
The NYT also reported that a survey attached to the test “indicated that those who scored better were the students who took advanced math courses like calculus and read more pages in and out of school.” It went on to say that “[h]igher-scoring students also read for fun almost every day.” It’s clear that remedial English language arts and mathematics courses are inadequate to overcome multiple years of low reading and lack of important mathematics courses.
It is foolhardy and wasteful of taxpayers’ hard earned dollars to throw monies at Cuomo’s tuition-free proposal with such dire data as these. Liberal welfare benefits + free college tuition = Death Spiral!
To truly prepare K-12 students for college, implement these measures:
1. Remove New York from Common Core which is nothing more than “test prep academies”;
2. Return our state to the the traditional curricula that truly prepared students to enter college. There were no readiness gaps then which required remediation;
3. The governor, Board of Regents, and commissioner of education should examine the college preparatory curriculum used by schools in earlier decades and ending with the 1950s, the last era when true college preparatory courses were taught in high school;
4. Focus on our American heritage and exceptionalism, national sovereignty, and Founding documents. The current focus on multiculturalism smears Western and American tradition;
5. Reading classic literature prepared students for college. Strong emphasis on phonics; grammar; usage; correct spelling; cursive handwriting; expository, persuasive, research writing;
6. Reading, writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills explicitly incorporated throughout college-preparatory curriculum from English to mathematics to science and social science.
THOMAS PAINE’S COMMON SENSE (Jan.9, 1776): To The SILENT MAJORITY
“O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!”
Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots: Box 244, Jamestown, NY 14701 sotierteapatriots