Two governors of New York State have recently decided that the state was in such economic turmoil that they could not afford to provide money to set up the New York State War of 1812 200th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. The purpose of the commission was to plan and execute an organized series of reenactment tourism events during the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. Several years ago Governor Patterson vetoed the bill and most recently Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a similar bill on September 23, 2011. Both chief executives thought that there would be sufficient money for such purposes from other sources. This was a sound decision in these times of economic uncertainty, or was it?
History tells us that such INVESTMENTS pay off in the long run through sales and marketing, which is inherent in the commemoration activities. These events increase tourism which thereby creates a boon to the local economy of the area that hosts these events. Most certainly the revenue generated by private enterprise and the state, via taxes and fees, would far outweigh the initial expenditure. This is why the legislators have proposed this on several occasions.
One should also keep in mind that the legislators acted on behalf of their constituents, the TAXPAYER! The bill was surely wanted by the people since the measure passed both the Assembly and the Senate, only to be vetoed by Governor Cuomo. He should be cognizant of the fact that the money he controls is the money of the PEOPLE, not the state's. The state gets that money by confiscation of the people's money, through taxes and fees paid. The money comes from New York State residents and all others who do business, travel through, purchase products and get an education, in New York State.
More important than the economic considerations are the sacrifices of the previous generations in our national and state history. Most of the War of 1812 was fought on the northern border of the United States and the adjacent area in Canada. New York State's border with Canada is about 450 miles long and fighting occurred at locations along that entire distance. The blood of New York citizens, the blood of federal troops and the blood of Iroquois warriors was spilled in New York State and Canada along that border. Their sacrifice of blood and treasure should be officially remembered and duly honored.
It is shameful that no commission was set up for the commemoration of the War of 1812 in New York State and equally shameful that similar legislation failed to pass in the United States Congress. The states of Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia and the federal government of Canada are all planning commemorations of the war.
In early 1814, $50,000 was given by New York State to assist in resettling refugees from the Niagara Frontier during The War of 1812. Maybe Governor Cuomo should take a lesson in history from one of his predecessors. Governor Daniel D. Tompkins was governor of New York State from 1807 to 1817.