"So, what's the answer? " asks a commenter on my last post regarding the state budget crisis. Well, off the top of my head, here are a few ideas:
Make nursing home residents actually spend down their assets before they can qualify for Medicaid, which has turned into a nice scam for middle-class heirs looking to protect their inheritance.
Calculate public employee pensions on their base salaries, which would prevent senior people jamming lots of highly paid overtime into their last three years on the job so as to pad their pension checks. (Or being more or less forced into early retirement after working lots of needed overtime, as after 9/11.)
Take a hard look at sacred cows such as the stem-cell program (especially the money going for controversial research that destroys human embryos), and the state's pick-up of 100 percent of the cost for Medicaid abortions.
Raise income tax rates on the rich ($750,000 and up), or institute a state inheritance tax.
Check out the groaning shelves where old cost-saving recommendations have gone to die, e.g. the Suozzi commission, which suggested doing things like reducing the incentives for school districts to place kids in special ed. NYSUT and other unions may rue the days when they blocked modest proposals like this and are left facing a pay freeze of indeterminate length, as recommended in a TU opinion piece today by John Faso.
The Faso plan has no chance of passing the Legislature anytime soon. Still, it might make a good political platform for him as things get worse, with the state stumbling from crisis to crisis as the money runs out.