A large crowd heard state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, present his vision for how government should function during a recent Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots meeting.
"Our country was started with the Declaration of Independence," said Goodell, "which now is turning into the Declaration of Dependence by some candidates."
Individual freedom was the basis for our country: a competitive free-market economy and individual success. Today, an individual can earn more on welfare than at an entry-level job. Goodell said about some politicians: "They're reaching into your wallet, taking out your money, and being as generous as they want to be."
Goodell said there is a clear choice between two different visions. Goodell's vision focuses upon the private sector, a competitive market, a state that is business friendly, decreased spending, and with more personal freedom and responsibility. He said more options in health care are needed, along with reduced government intrusion into daily lives. His vision, he says, is not based on what government can give the people, because government is the problem.
The other vision, he said, is a benevolent government solving all our problems, funding political campaigns and establishing all wage rates as fair and reasonable without regard to market conditions.
He said many small businesses dropped health insurance for employees because of high costs covering 58 mandates, including abortion. Additionally, large deductibles are required in order to cover the cost of the many mandates.
Welfare recipients who stay at home received a 10 percent increase in allotments. The state must make it easier to leave welfare and be successful, said Goodell. He proposed a bill to bring Medicaid health care coverage in line with private health care. Currently, the state spends between $30 and $40 million on welfare hearings when individuals fail to appear for work. Goodell proposed that video conferences be used instead, greatly reducing costs.
Goodell's pet peeve is "other" taxes. He proposed legislation to phase out the 9.36 percent health care tax, one of the largest taxes in New York state, for anyone receiving hospital care. The state reaps $4.32 billion from this flat tax health assessment. Additionally, Medicaid costs county taxpayers $1.5 million per month for welfare. Cattaraugus and Allegany counties combined have the same population but spend only $500,000 per month, one-third of what Chautauqua County pays.