Thursday, February 23, 2006

Les Roberts on Fiscal Responsibility

The Republicans in Congress keep on promising fiscal responsibility, but the plain facts show that they are incapable of staying within a budget. Not only does the spending of Republicans exceed income by grotesque amounts, but the Republicans also keep on adding on huge items of supplemental spending to their budgets, even though these supplements cover items that are quite predictable.

Les Roberts has made restoration of fiscal responsibility in the House of Representatives one of the central issues of his campaign for the Democratic nomination to Congress in New York State's 24th District. The following statement from Les Roberts about the issue comes from a transcript of his official announcement speech, which is available on the web site That's My Congress.

"All of us balance our checkbooks at home. The federal government has the same responsibility. These recent tax shifts - I don't want to call them cuts because our government wasn't cut and it didn't get smaller - from the wealthiest two percent to your local taxes and to our debt, has been the height of irresponsibility. In the 24th District, probably the most acute effect we have seen has been the viability of Medicaid. We have the situation now where the counties here in Central New York are paying 50 to 90 percent of their budgets on this federally mandated Medicaid program. The state has a huge chunk of its budget spent on Medicaid as well. It seems to me on the verge of obscene for our Congress and our congressman to have, just a few weeks ago, voted to cut Medicaid.

Last year, two-thirds of hospitals lost money. Mary Grace, who you just met, is the director of the library down in Sidney. A couple of months ago, the hospital in Sidney went bankrupt and shut its doors. The hospitals in Upstate New York are in a fiscal crisis. There's a couple reasons for this. The ones most easily solved by the federal government are the inadequate funding or reimbursement of Medicaid, where you and I are subsidizing the inadequate funding when we pay our health insurance, and secondly the fact that so many people, working people, do not have health insurance. There are three million people without health insurance in New York State today, and those folks often have their illnesses and end up being treated in the emergency room. That is unpleasant and unkind for them, and it is expensive for us, showing up in our taxes and in our medical costs."

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