Comments by ronzo
Posted on December 2 at 7:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)
It's also possible that the decline is due to more people doing what we do. Many years ago we and those who we gifted quit the holiday and special occasion (birthdays etc.) gift giving and donate whatever we would spend on gifts to a local charity. The exception is now with two grand children we limit them to two gifts each, purchased before October 1, but to no one else. It feels better to give to those who need than to those who don't.
Posted on November 20 at 7:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)
I moved to NY from New Mexico where state legislators are "citizen legislators" who get $0 salary. They do get an expense per-diem during the legislative session that occurs for 30 days in even numbered years and 60 days in odd numbered years. They always pass the budget on time and get the state's business done during the session because they want to get back to their jobs and businesses so they can earn a living. Also there's term limits for governor. Sure they may have less issues than a New York, but they actually "serve" the people, and do so very effectively. $79,000 salary for these people in NY is government sponsored larceny.
Posted on June 16 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Your opinions are very accurate, especially the one that states "lawmakers can begin their long, inevitable march toward almost-certain re-election". And therein lies the fact, or the problem, if you don't like what goes on at the Capital. Most New Yorkers who vote, like what they have in state elected government. They continuously re-elect the same people. Those who don't vote probably don't care one way or another. So what's the conclusion? People like what they have at the Capital. If they didn't they'd do something about it. As long as the people who vote, and they are the ones who decide, want what's in the Legislature, your editorials and opinions, while factual, don't mean anything to the person who casts their ballot. So you might as well save your ink and newsprint because it's just a few like you (and me) who actually care about this subject and there are fewer who are willing to do something about it. Of course, term limits would be out of the question for most New Yorkers because it might change the status quo at the Capital. New York is an unusual state this way. People vote for an incumbent umpteen times, then complain about the politicians. People continuously vote themselves property tax increases, then complain about New York taxes. It's an interesting paradox.
Posted on May 17 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)
James: Why do school boards come up with these egregious spending increases? Because through history, the odds are that the taxpayers (the ones who vote) have proven that they will have no problem voting themselves a tax increase. The school boards know it and don't need to go any further to control spending. They blame everyone but themselves for why spending must increase, and they get away with it because most people don't challenge their decisions. Those who do are thought of as the perennial complainers and generally ignored. The tax cap is a joke, as is most of the other phony rhetoric from the politicians about school spending and cost to taxpayers. The ones who complain the most are the ones who can least afford the taxes, but are over-ruled by those who don't mind paying the taxes, and by those who just don't care one way or another. The problem will not be addressed until the majority of taxpayers want change. Until then......
Posted on April 24 at 12:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)
James Bell: There's one important fact that you left out. The bill stipulates that the retailer keeps the 10 cent fee, not the city. This is not a cash-raising scheme by the city government. If the city received the money it would be a tax. This is not a tax. It is intended to reduce the cost of handling these bags by discouraging their use. Many other cities and states have enacted this exact legislation.
Posted on April 18 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Typical Upstate New York local rural/suburban right-wing politicians. Create as many layers of government that they can think of, and blame everyone else for the cost of running their bloated multi-layers of government. Then on the other side of their mouths criticize the largess of the Federal and State government. And the people let them do it. So how can you believe people here when they complain about property taxes because the majority vote these "keep the taxes high" right-wing hypocrites into office.
Posted on April 16 at 7:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Public Employees- Brian: To use your example that just because many corporations stopped providing pensions to long term workers, so why should governments. I agree with that premise provided that governments stop allowing “pension padding” during an employee’s final years of work.
Further using your corporate vs. gov’t example, when corporations experience a decline in revenue, what is one of the things they do? They look for ways to reduce cost. So the State has reduced revenue to these municipalities. State funds come from many revenue sources that include taxes paid by the residents. Why should the taxpayers in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, etc. pay to support these little village, town and school local governments when these governments do little to reduce their costs? If people really must have their Scotia or Sodus or Hamburg or Rhinebeck or Manlius or Minerva, or their little Niskayuna, Schalmont, Ballston Spa, Guilderland, Shenendehowa, Galway school district, they should pay for it out their own pockets, and not expect people who don’t live there to support their inefficient local government. If they do not want to pay for their little town or village or school district, they should take the governor’s offer of millions of dollars to eliminate it.
State funds should be used to support the common good, like infrastructure and education, that benefits the state as a whole. Local government should provide that what the people within a geographic area want, and pay for it with locally generated funding.
Maybe if the State continues to reduce revenue to the inefficient local towns villages and school districts the people will finally wake up and realize that this is 2014, not 1814, and organize their local government to serve today's population.
Posted on April 6 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Tax Caps: The party of big government governor is testing the local leaders in upstate NY and Long Island towns, villages and school districts who are mostly from the party of less government, about their sincerity to truly reduce property taxes. Since most of them have ignored the big government guy’s offer to provide millions of dollars of state assistance to take action to reduce the size of local government through consolidation and mergers, he’s extending his offer to those who it financially affects the most - the property tax payers. If it’s to get votes, what’s the difference if what he offers is what the taxpayers want. Isn’t that why people vote for someone, because they like what the person offers them?
The excuse that it’s state mandates that are the cause of high property taxes is a lame excuse. Most states impose unfunded mandates upon local government. So what’s the real reason that 49 states property taxes are lower than NY? And especially why is it that those states that do not have local gov’t other than cities (including school districts) below the county level have some of the very lowest property taxes in this nation?
The town and village and school board leaders might want to research the answers and report their findings to the taxpayers, instead of fighting against the governor’s desire to provide relief to the taxpayers. Would the actual facts that they find be different than what they spout in off the cuff remarks that consolidation and merger won’t save cost, as in this mayor’s comments? I’m saying that the odds are they would because other states have proven that county consolidated government costs less to deliver service than multiple layers of local government within a county.
Counties, especially the very low-populated ones, can deliver just as personal service at a fraction of the cost of these multi-layered even smaller very low population local governments that currently exist here in New York.
The question is, will the people buy the big government party governor’s offer? A lot will depend on how much more egregious property (including school) taxes the people are really willing to pay. I’m guessing that most people are very willing to pay even more and higher property and school taxes in exchange for the guarantee that their little local town, village and school district will be there for them to call “mine”, regardless of that cost.
Posted on April 3 at 7 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Medicare Advantage costs the Federal Gov't 10%-15% more per enrollee than traditional Medicare. This program was created by the second Bush administration to reward their pals in the health insurance industry at the expense of taxpayers. The Obama administration through the Affordable Care Act is reigning in this over-paying by reducing over time the "premium price" paid to the insurers for Medicare Advantage in order to bring the costs back to that of traditional Medicare. This is intended as one of the methods to help fund the ACA. Medicare was designed to provide 80%, of the cost to enrollees, who are responsible for the other 20%, which they can cover by purchasing a Medigap policy. What's wrong with paying only 20% of your health care cost or buying insurance to cover it?
Posted on March 16 at 7:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)
NY has inside-out politics. You have a governor from the "big government" party who offers millions and millions of state $$$ to Upstate and Long Island towns, villages and school districts that are populated and governed by people of the "we hate big government" party to share, consolidate, merge and dissolve. The original offer is not only being ignored, but voted against by the taxpayers. So now the big gov't guy wants to sweeten the pot by offering the "hate big gov't" taxpayers lower taxes if they succeed in pressuring their "hate big gov't" elected officials to get rid of their town, village or school district and in return, he'll lower their taxes.
New Yorkers prove year after year that they really don't mind paying the egregious property taxes that they let their local politicians and school boards force on them. Because if they did mind, they'd do something about it. Instead they constantly vote themselves property tax increases when they vote (or don't vote) every May for school budgets, and they consistently elect those town, village and school district people who stand firm on keeping the layers and layers of local gov't in NY's Upstate counties.
I have met with and written to my "hate big gov't party" town supervisor about merging with the adjacent towns, or at least having the county take over the highway dept. and water dept., since all roads in the town are in the county and the county is the source for the water supply. The result was an unenthusiastic response about consolidation and merger. Soon after, the town built a new town highway dept. garage, at town taxpayer expense. So therein lies the root of the problem.