amNewYork weighs in on New York State ballot proposals

No. 1: Proposal on drawing electoral maps is flawed


New York has an awful way of drawing electoral maps. The once-a-decade process often produces twisted political boundaries for Assembly, Senate and congressional seats that are an insult to voters, an obstacle to political challengers and a gift to incumbents.

Now voters will decide whether to support the minuscule improvements offered by politicians or hold out for better. The proposal would create a 10-member commission, with Senate and Assembly majority and minority leaders picking two each and those eight picking two more.

The system incumbent lawmakers want to enshrine in the state constitution is neither nonpartisan nor independent. It would create a panel chosen mostly by legislative leaders. If lawmakers didn’t like the maps, they could reject them and draw their own. The commission members should not be chosen by those with a direct stake in the outcome. We don’t believe the best argument made in favor of the amendment: “It’s the best we can hope for.” New York deserves a truly independent redistricting process.

Vote no on this proposal.

No. 2: A way to save a tree — or thousands

This proposal would help usher the State Legislature into the digital age. Lawmakers usually cannot routinely vote on bills until they’ve been “printed” for at least three days. That requirement in the state constitution since 1938 has been interpreted to mean ink on paper. It needs to be amended. Distributing more than a thousand bills a year electronically would be more efficient, and the savings should be considerable.

Vote yes on this proposal.

No. 3: Reject bonding for new school technology

The New York Bonds for School Technology Act proposition would allow the state to borrow up to $2 billion to modernize technology and build new pre-K classrooms. However, the computer hardware and devices purchased would become obsolete well before taxpayers repay the debt. That spending should come from annual budgets. Such huge borrowing would bring New York closer to its debt ceiling at a time when there is a more pressing need to fund transportation.

Vote no on this proposal.

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