Republican candidates held a meet-and-greet in Ogdensburg last week. David Sommerstein took the opportunity to ask them what they'd cut.
So we were surprised to get the news this week that regulators are lowering the gates at the...
State senator Patty Ritchie says schools in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties got $7 million more than the Governor had proposed,...
At the Freighthouse restaurant in Ogdensburg, Republican candidates bellied up to the bar and mingled. One thing they definitely have going for them - a clear message.
Republicans have to show that they are true fiscal conservatives.
We need to hold the line on taxes.
They want to see government cut spending. They want to see smaller government.
I think Republicans have to be clear examples of fiscal discipline.
That was Kevin Ackers and Matthew Flynn, both running for the St. Lawrence county legislature, Patty Ritchie running for State Senate, and Harry Wilson, running for state comptroller.
The politicians here acknowledge their party is returning home after several years in the wilderness. Under George W. Bush, Republicans racked up huge deficits and created whole new agencies of government. Matt Doheny wants to unseat Congressman Bill Owens.
As a Republican Party we need to get back to our knitting. They certainly went off the rails during the second half of the Bush Administration.
Of course, the real knives come out for President Obama and today's Democrats, for the stimulus, the bailouts, and health care from
With a Democratic Governor, a Democratic-controlled Senate, and a Democratic-controlled Assembly, and they can't get a budget done. And they're arguing back and forth about borrowing us out of debt, which makes no sense to me.
So what do you do? If you don't raise taxes or accumulate more debt, you've got to cut. With
Ken Blankenbush says slash state agencies.
We may have to say to every organization we have in the state, we're gonna cut ten percent until we get straightened out here.
The problem is the
So how do you cut without putting scores of
Blankenbush says the answer is to cut at the top - start with the managers in
Congressional candidate Doug Hoffman says more cuts need to happen somewhere else.
If they're going to cut, the cuts have to be throughout the state, and not just focused on four prisons in this area and state parks and everything that drives our economy.
Congressional candidate Matt Doheny says the cuts are somewhere else, too. He argues the government jobs and services in the North Country are core spending, things like education and roads,
I mean, there's so many other programs that we can wean off. I mean, everything like corporate welfare in the commerce department to programs that are served by some other private sector need. And then you have a crazy, out of control entitlement situation that needs to be started to be addressed.
State Senate candidate Patty Ritchie agrees. She believes
I was actually astonished to see that
I asked Ritchie which Medicaid programs she'd cut, but she said she didn't know yet.
On the county level, St. Lawrence County legislative candidate Kevin Ackers proposes lowering insurance costs. He wants county employees to trade their current health care plans for high deductible medical insurance and health savings accounts. That's what he did as a member of the school board in Madrid-Waddington.
If we use the savings that we've had at Madrid-Waddington of two thousand dollars a head, we could save, conservatively, we could save 2.8 to 3 million dollars per year.
It's hard to get any politician - Republican or Democrat - to talk specifics on reducing the size of government. Any cut that would substantially eat into the deficit will affect constituents.
State Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson says places like the
The government sector jobs are basically replacing private sector jobs, and I would argue that the private sector is always more efficient than government.
If you cut costs, and cut spending, and therefore cut jobs, it takes time for that to be replaced. And we need to send a clear signal that
So as Republicans hit the campaign trail, their message of fiscal conservatism is clear. The plan for getting there is still under construction.
For North Country Public Radio, I'm