Aptly titled “Common Sense: We got your number” — Boy, do we ever !
Kings County Conservative Party Chairman and State Senator Martin Golden’s Chief of Staff overlooks his boss’s apparent support of the Universal Pre-K initiative after Kassar says the Governors’s numbers for that program really don’t add up...
Jerry Kassar was right on the money when he made these observations in his most recent weekly column: “Your government has numbers. All sorts of numbers. Unfortunately, the numbers often do not add up. And when they do not add up, we the taxpayers are usually the ones footing a new tax, fee or toll increase. *** Let’s take two recent sets of numbers. Universal pre-K and the MTA’s vaunted East Side Access proposal. The governor says universal pre-K will cost around $350 million over the next five years to implement. The commissioner of educations says it is more like $1.6 billion. A noticeable difference I think would be the only point we could all agree upon....” (See “Common Sense: We got your number” by Jerry Kassar, 4/4/14, Home Reporter/ Spectator [http://www.homereporternews.com/opinion/common-sense-we-got-your-number/article_f2e7598c-8def-11e3-8d6c-001a4bcf887a.html). Kassar then goes on to look closely into the thing called the “MTA East Side Access” proposal/project as an even greater case of the numbers not adding up. He tells us that the cost of this project, whose purpose is to help make the commuters’ movements from Long Island to the East Side of Manhattan more direct, was originally estimated to come in at $6.3 billion dollars with a 2013 completion date; and now, is estimated to cost $9.3 billion with a completion sometime in 2020. So far, so good, right ?
Okay, stay with this. Kassar then writes that, “Obviously, these enormous differences raise questions about the methods used to create the estimates which played a major role in green lighting these proposals in the first place. The governor’s entire state budget will be thrown out of whack if the five-year estimate for universal pre-K actually is closer to the $1.6 billion vs. the $350 billion he is using. *** That has across-the-board implications on all aspects of the budget. And the MTA is talking about a possible 12 percent fare increase as it deals with various labor-related contract issues. A $3 billion capital budget miscalculation can go a long way in raising your debt service costs.” Fine, that lays out the problem pretty well, doesn’t it
Well, it seems all of this was just a lead-in for Kassar to hype his boss, State Senator Golden, and a Kassar-endorsed office holder, as follows: “State Senator Marty Golden -- who I serve as chief of staff -- and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis have been asking a lot of questions, particularly on the East Side Access over-run. *** Essentially, the project is the establishment of a new station deep underneath Grand Central Station. A $9.3 billion price tag for a single new transportation center which is larger than the entire transportation capital budgets for many states simply seems incredible.”
So where is the problem ? What’s missing from Kassar’s column ? — It’s the Marty Golden money shot about “Universal Pre-K”....
You see State Senator Golden is apparently locked in as a supporter of universal pre-K. We’ve mentioned that a few times here on this blog since a post on November 10, 2013, along with an UPDATE comment made later that day. Many other media outlets also have talked about Golden’s support for universal pre-K as well. In my main post of 11/10/13, I specifically asked this “What do you think Marty Golden has to say about all this ? Just as interesting, what do you think his Chief of Staff Jerry Kassar, a so-called "conservative" with "common sense," has to say about it ?”
After this week’s Common Sense column by Jerry Kassar, I think I know some of what Kassar has to say about universal Pre-K; but, Jerry, what does your boss, State Senator Golden have to say about it; and what does he think of how your numbers on that program add up ?