Pataki: Too many people dependent on government
ROCHESTER - Former New York governor George Pataki said on Wednesday evening that the entitlement system in America needs to be changed to make it sustainable for the future.
"Too many people have become dependent on government and what we have to do is create opportunity and require able-bodied recipients to take advantage of those opportunities," Pataki told the approximately 20 people in attendance.
He added that this is the approach he took with welfare in New York "and it worked."
Pataki was at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Rochester for an "Ax the Tax" celebration. A member of the audience asked him specifically about Social Security reform, a day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested the government raise the retirement age for the program to 69-years-old.
Pataki also answered questions about infrastructure, peace in the Middle East, national security and job growth. Pataki received a number of head nods when he talked about the high cost of local schools and how increasing taxes for education forces senior citizens out of their homes.
Pataki said that when he was governor, approximately half of seniors in upstate New York did not have to pay for school property tax under a special state-run program.
Pataki, who is a Republican, said this is a issue for individual states.
On the subject of the United States military, Pataki said he wants to expand it, "not so we can use it. So we don't have to use it."
Pataki said this is one of the areas where he believes government should be expanded. He also believes in taking care of the veterans who served in the armed forces.
When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, Pataki believes it should be repealed and replaced with "a marketplace system that works." He has opposed the ACA for a long time, he told the crowd.
After Pataki spoke, State Senator Sam Cataldo of Farmington said he would rather see a governor than senator elected as President.
"They have more knowledge than a senator," Cataldo said.
Mac Kittredge of Rochester, who said he started the Rochester Republican City Committee, said Pataki understands "the challenge of terminal bureaucracy in government."
Pataki planned to meet up with some University of New Hampshire students after the event in Rochester. He is still considering a run for President, but has not yet made any official announcement about his candidacy.