31 March 2010

A possible taxpayer's revolt

I have just sent the following Letter to the Editors via e-mail:

Westchester-Putnam
Letters to the Editor
The Journal News
1 Gannett Drive
White Plains, NY 10604

To the Editors:

I recently blogged about the severe fiscal crisis in which the State of New York has found itself. Various state agencies' bills are not being paid and as a result, they are losing services. In particular, the Office of Mental Health is set to lose all of their administrative and support staff as of 1 April 2010 as the entirety of such staff is employed through a temporary employment agency, whose contract has not been renewed by the state.

There are rumors abound that state income tax refunds are being withheld until as long as the fall -- refunds that many people are relying upon. Local governments and school districts are still waiting for payments owed to them by NYS.

Under New York State law, a Writ of Mandamus can be issued under an Article 78 Proceeding to "compel a government agency or official to do something they are required by law to do."

I wonder if it would be possible for the County of Westchester, as well as other local municipalities and school districts to file an Article 78 proceeding on behalf of its citizens, compelling the State to release the funds owed to the local municipalities, school districts, and individual taxpayers. As a tax preparer, many of my clients are relying on their state refunds to help pay bills, and without such funds forthcoming in a timely fashion, it most certainly will negatively impact their credit ratings.

Perhaps the citizens of NYS could file an Article 78 Proceeding against all lawmakers in Albany, compelling them to pass a budget on 1 April 2010 (the start of New York's fiscal year), forcing the state to release funds owed to all those who are waiting for such monies to enter their coffers.

Or, perhaps even a class action lawsuit could be filed by the citizens of New York against the State for its fiscal irresponsibility.

Unfortunately, when elections come this fall, given the historic short-term memories of those who vote, I doubt very much that anyone will remember these goings-on and instead, voters will return most of the currently elected state officials to their thrones of power.

Sincerely,
-Peter C. Frank a/k/a @NiteStar
[address removed]
Yonkers, New York
[contact information removed]