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Plan would give struggling upstaters a fighting chance

Thursday, October 3, 2013
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Plan would give struggling upstaters a fighting chance

With upstate counties struggling with population loss over the past decade, we owe it to our children to build an upstate economy that is sustainable for the next generation.

New Yorkers in counties like Hamilton (-1.2 percent), Fulton (-1.1 percent), Greene (-1.1 percent), Schoharie (-0.2 percent) and Montgomery (-0.6 percent) are facing significant population losses when compared to U.S. population growth statistics for the same 2010-2012 period of 1.7 percent.

There is a strong message here for our legislators if they would just listen. The exit polls seem to overwhelmingly reveal that upstate New Yorkers are reluctantly leaving the state they love so much because of “better opportunities, less taxes, and jobs.” I hear it time and time again.

That’s why Unshackle Upstate’s New ERA [Economic Revitalization Agenda] proposal is gaining some real attention through its grassroots efforts. The New ERA proposal reduces state income taxes by 25 percent for upstate residents making less than $50,000 and reduces the state sales tax share by 50 percent, from 4 percent to 2 percent, for upstate counties with significant declines in population. These policies allow upstaters to keep more of their own hard-earned money and stimulate purchases in the counties that need them most, creating more opportunities.

The plan also proposes to eliminate the 18a energy assessment, which is a surcharge placed on every energy consumer’s bill. New Yorkers and New York-based businesses pay some of the highest electrical rates in the country.

I ask that people check out www.unshackleupstate.com for more information on the New ERA plan. We owe it to our children to make New York a place where we can live and prosper. We need stimulative policies that will encourage small business to start up and maintain a presence in New York so that everyone who wants to work can have a rewarding job with decent pay.

Dave Rakvica

Mayfield

The writer is a member of the Unshackle Upstate board.

Better security needed to control theater crowds

Re Oct. 1 article, “Bow Tie assault stuns many”: I love Schenectady downtown: the restaurants, Proctors, Jay Street, the library and movie theater.

I was gratified to hear of the quick action by police in the “beat down” of the man with his teenage daughter and her friend watching a movie at Bow Tie. However, this could have been prevented from what I heard really happened at the theater that night.

It was after another movie let out that 15 “kids” came into the showing of “White House Down,” running up and down the aisles and being disruptive. Yes, rather than say something, the parent could have gone out of the theater and found a theater employee, but this situation should not occur.

When a movie lets out, there should probably be two theater employees at the exit to ensure that people don’t opt for a free double feature.

Theater management should take responsibility and act to prevent the situation that caused this. Saying it rarely happens, and response was faster than can be expected, does not absolve management from improving its oversight.

Michael Heim

Niskayuna

History has proven GE’s Welch was all wrong

The Sept. 25 Gazette reported that GE received a $2.7 billion order to supply 26 gas turbines, 12 steam turbines and 38 generators to Sonelgaz in Algeria. This is one of the largest orders received by GE’s turbine generator business in its 121-year history. This is good news for GE and the community because the steam turbines and generators will be manufactured in Schenectady.

It is worthwhile to recall the 1980s and 1990s, when Jack Welch was GE’s CEO. Welch actually believed he was a god-like CEO who bettered anything he became involved in. He had an insatiable need to be admired and praised. Business publications and GE’s PR operations promoted him as a visionary and the “CEO of the Century.”

In a Fortune Magazine article, Welch pronounced visionary-like that turbine generators is a dying business, and he treated it as such, shuttering the turbine generator lab that provided research and development for the next generation of alloys for turbines and high-voltage insulating materials for generators.

He fired hundreds of productive engineers and scientists critical to the success of the business. He tried to sell the Schenectady operation so there would be no GE presence left there, a plant he treated with disdain.

It is 2013, and the turbine generator business is still very much alive. In contrast, the financial services and insurance businesses he acquired during his 20 years as CEO, which were to be the foundation of Welch’s new GE, have been sold off. His misguided acquisitions nearly bankrupted GE during the financial crisis.

And what is the CEO of the Century doing in 2013? He is still promoting himself for his “successes” during his years as GE’s CEO.

Mark Markovitz

Niskayuna

The writer is a GE retiree.

Congress shouldn’t let tea party call the tunes

Now that shutdown is on, I imagine the tea party is celebrating their “victory.” Rational legislators in Washington do not seem to have the guts to call out this dangerous and traitorous splinter group, who are no better than Islamic terrorists.

For the tea party, there is no compromise: Their way is the only way. What astonishes me is that the rest of Congress listens to them.

The only saving aspect of this situation is that they are too disillusioned to realize they are hurting the very segment of our population that elected them. One can only hope that those people remember this in the next election.

Bottom line is that the people who are supposed to be representing us are not doing anywhere near their jobs, and would rather appease their parties than the American people. Grow up, legislators. But in reality, we all know they won’t do so.

I am thoroughly ashamed of and disgusted with our representatives in both houses. The sad thing is that we cannot do anything about it.

Bob Coveney

Malta

Who’s to blame for standoff? Democrats

Despite the mainstream media coverage blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, the facts are:

1) The House of Representatives already sent four government funding bills to the Senate.

2) A majority of Americans don’t want Obamacare. Even unions don’t want the law.

3) The Obama administration awarded Big Business a delay. Congress was given a special exemption.

4) It’s time for equality under the law.

5) [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid is refusing to negotiate with House Republicans — he cares more about preserving the president’s legacy than protecting the American people.

It’s time for President Obama and Harry Reid to recognize the compromise and will of the people.

Bruce Winters

Clifton Park

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