Today’s news:

Weprin unfit to succeed Weiner

State Assemblyman and 9th Congressional District candidate David Weprin’s (D-Little Neck) belief that he is the best candidate to replace former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner due to his “20 years of experience in public finance, state banking and the City Council Finance Committee to replace Weiner” is contradicted by his past track record (“Weprin, Turner launch races for Weiner seat,” July 14-20).

Under Weprin’s watch as the Council Finance Committee chairman from 2002-09, the budget grew from $43 billion to $59 billion. This was above the rate of inflation. He lacked the courage to propose automatically adopting the previous year’s budget and spending levels. There was no real fiscal reform to restrict spending below the rate of inflation or adopt pay as you go financing.

City municipal debt was $43 billion in 2001. On Weprin’s watch between 2001 and 2009, municipal debt increased by $16 billion to $59 billion. Each resident’s portion of this debt went up by $1,853 from $5,300 to $7,153. The per resident capital debt of $7,153 makes the Big Apple No. 1 nationally. Each year, a greater percentage of the city budget goes toward debt payments rather than funding current badly needed services such as police, fire, sanitation, education, etc. He never developed any plans to reduce long-term debt.

Weprin is proud of his role in giving out several hundred million dollars yearly worth of individual Council member’s pork barrel projects. He proudly accepts the title of “King of Pork” by the Gotham Gazette for the greatest number and dollar value of member item pork barrel spending.

Despite his claims of financial expertise, he was never considered a serious candidate by colleagues in the state Legislature to replace former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi in 2007.

In 2009, the Queens County Democratic Party Committee endorsed then-Councilman John Liu over Weprin for the September city comptroller primary. Weprin ran last in a four-way race.

Weprin prefers that voters forget that prior to his election as councilman in 2001, the city Finance Department revealed that he owed $6,734 in unpaid property taxes going back to 1999; in 2003, he voted against the wishes of homeowners by supporting an 18.5 percent property tax increase; and in past years, he supported giving out $400 tax rebates even if the homeowner owed the city other debts.

He failed to prepare for today’s lean times due to economic recession and declining Wall Street tax revenues. Weprin is opposed to Wal-Mart opening any stores within the five boroughs. This hurts consumers looking for both employment and savings.

Weprin is just not equipped to deal with $14 trillion in long-term and hundreds of billions in short-term debt facing Washington.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, L.I.

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