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Budgetary blowback II: Private vs. Public battles continue to intensify

Dec 17, 2010 9:19 am
First there were the private ski centers in Greene County, backed by the states leading private ski industry association, charging that the state was being unfair in the number of free ski passes they were handing out at Department of Environmental Conservation-run Belleayre Mountain, in Ulster County. Which prompted local officials to start sparring over economic development pies, and who got what from what was once seen as a regional business. Now, the Times Union reports that businesses across the state are blaming competition from regional Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), known in Columbia and Greene counties as Questar, for forcing them to have to lay off workers, downsize and consider closure. Why? Adirondack Area Networks, a consortium that provides technology for schools, hospitals and small businesses throughout the state, and similar private IT associations are saying that the state's 37 BOCES, with new funding coming in from the federal Race to the Top program, are saving school districts TOO much money by bundling services, including information technology services, and hurting private businesses in the process. They're crying that BOCES use grants -- money that ultimately comes from taxpayers -- to artificially lower the prices they charge districts for services, creating an uneven market in which government is bidding against private businesses.

So it seems that just as some folks want greater savings from government services, in light of coming cuts such as those envisioned as part of a proposed 2 percent property tax cap for the state affecting all town, county and school budgeting, others are wanting to also cut any means for making up such shortfalls.

For the full Times Union story about business complaints regarding BOCES, click HERE.

For more on the ski industry battles, try HERE.

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