Voice from the Capitol: Is state government working for you?

New Yorkers will vote on a Constitutional Convention this fall. Before they head to the polls, they should consider one very basic question: Is New York state government working for you?

Those who would answer “Yes” can stop reading.

But those who would answer “No” likely believe we can do better on taxes, regulations, corruption, public safety or several other issues. For those hoping to change New York, a Constitutional Convention carries the potential for reform, directed solely by the voting public.

The potential for change can often inspire fear, especially for those whose entrenched power may be affected by a reform-minded public. Scare tactics by convention opponents portray it as a threat to many important policies and programs. I firmly believe Albany is in dire need of reform, but to be perfectly clear:

• I DO NOT support any proposal that would reduce or impact public pensions and retirement benefits;

• I DO NOT support putting the State Pension Fund under the governor’s control;

• I DO NOT support measures that undermine Second Amendment rights; and

• I DO NOT support an agenda that jeopardizes open space protections.

I’ve seen enough dysfunction in Albany to know that taxpayers deserve better than what they’re getting. Supporting comprehensive reforms through a Constitutional Convention does not mean that all state-driven programs should be under scrutiny.

The structure of a Constitutional Convention allows for every part of the process to be dictated by the voting public. New Yorkers – not elected officials, not lobbyists, not special interest organizations – will decide by majority vote:

• Whether or not a Constitutional Convention will be held;

• Which delegates will represent their interests at a convention; and

• Which recommended measures become law or are rejected.

Information about the Constitutional Convention process and what it would mean for New York state can be found at http://nyconstitution.org/

The governor, legislative majorities and high-powered special-interest groups have either shown no interest in a convention or are actively campaigning against holding one. The reason is simple – the Albany establishment does not like change, especially if its longstanding powers are threatened. But the fate of a Constitutional Convention should not be driven by political agendas or influence. It should represent one thing, the will of the people.