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Give New York businesses a break by cutting utility tax

Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Give New York businesses a break by cutting utility tax

The Chamber of Schenectady County commends your Feb. 8 editorial,“Let utility tax sunset as pledged,” and joins in urging Gov. Cuomo to let the 18a [assessment] surcharge expire in 2014, as originally proposed.

As The Gazette so clearly noted, this tax is hurting businesses along with low- and middle-income residents. According to figures from National Grid, the impact of the energy tax extension on a typical large business is estimated at $30,000 per year. The added cost on a typical small business would be about $540 per year, and average household utility bills would increase by $55 per year.

We commend Gov. Cuomo for his initial efforts in office, as well as his “Open for Business” campaign, but note that energy costs are a large consideration for businesses when locating and/or expanding in New York. Our state’s utility rates are heavily burdened by hidden taxes.

A report by the Public Policy Institute finds that more than 25 percent of an electric bill in New York is comprised of state and local taxes. Our businesses need power to thrive and grow and should not be compromised by veiled fees or assessments.

The proposed extension of the 18a surcharge could cost all energy consumers in New York $236 million in 2014 and $2.8 billion over the next six years. We urge Gov. Cuomo and our state legislators to let this tax expire.

Charles P. Steiner

Schenectady

The writer is chamber president.

Broader view shows global warming is real

Columnist George Will [Jan. 27 Gazette] followed Holman Jenkins (Wall Street Journal) and others in a deceptive description of “global cooling” over the past 15 years, in what appears to be an attempt to mislead readers.

They connect a slightly warmer year (1998) to a slightly cooler year (2008) within more than a decade of record high global temperatures, but fail to provide the context of temperatures from the previous decades. The result is meaningless.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I encourage you to follow this link to see for yourself how silly this arbitrary connect-the-dots exercise really is: www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/global-thermometer-still-climbing.html.

Since 1900, 1.1 billion temperature reports from 39,390 weather stations show that earth has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of this warming (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) occurring in the past 35 years. The top 10 hottest years on record (since 1895, when global average temperature records were first kept), in order, are 2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, 2002, 2006/2009 (tied), 2007, 2004, 2012, and 2001.

At 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average, 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States and a whopping 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than the previous record set in 1998 — 34,008 daily high temperature records were set across the United States in 2012. This impacts us, a point that George Will trivializes.

The Feb. 8 letter writer, Linda Neil, has it right on global warming: It is George Will who is not too hot.

Mimi Katz

Schenectady

Teach students more about gov’t, Constitution

I am hoping this letter may spark an interest in pursuing an education-based news article. The program to which I am referring is operated by the Capital Region BOCES, the New Visions Law and Government program. If ever there was a time to protect programs such as this one, it is now.

Our government leaders are struggling with complex issues and find it difficult to work toward manageable and negotiated solutions. The art of politics requires persons knowledgeable about our Constitution, levels of government and the key tenets of democracy. Our country’s well being will need citizens and leaders who are well versed in its democratic foundations.

This program provides an exciting, hands-on approach for learning about government and law. For years it has embedded skills and knowledge that educators only now are finding important. As public schools shift to more rigorous concepts and interactive approaches, the New Visions program has embraced this approach for many years. Students are in courts, attend legislative hearings, participate in high-level internships. and in so doing receive advanced placement credits.

This program is very vulnerable to budget cuts this year and if it is not offered, many students will miss out on the very type of program education leaders are supporting. I would submit that it our duty as current citizens to ensure that this program thrives, so that a future citizenry may thrive as well.

Cynthia Gallagher

Schenectady

Political grandstanding with useless gun laws

I recently learned of two bills in the state Legislature: A03741 would require a psychiatric exam before anyone could obtain a pistol permit; A03908 would require a $1 million liability insurance policy for anyone owning a firearm. Everyone seems to have taken leave of their senses!

Are these all part of the feel-good gun-control politics designed to make your average citizen feel safer in his home? Of course! Will they work? Of course not! What Prince Cuomo-hoping-to-be-Czar Cuomo, does not realize is that we will not be swayed from protecting our families, ourselves, and our property by political foolishness that will do nothing at all to curb gun violence.

I guess all these new rules will make criminals think twice! What the Prince and [Obama] don’t understand is that all they will be doing is creating a vast underground network of sellers and buyers that believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which is to set limits on government action regarding to personal liberties.

Remember this: You may not like guns, and choose not to own one — that is your right. You might not believe in God. That is your choice. However, if someone breaks into your home, the first two things you’re going to do are: 1) call someone with a gun, and 2) pray that they get there in time.

Dave Gibson

Scotia

Too many letters from ultraconservative writer

Enough, already!

For some time now, I have resisted the urge to respond to the ultraconservative ranting of Vito Spinelli in his (way too many) letters to the editor [Feb. 8].

Perhaps more Daily Gazette readers should flood the letters section so there is no space available on the page for his off-the-wall opinions.

Why doesn’t Mr. Spinelli just submit his views to some of the nation’s ultraconservative, Fox News-like publications and spare us, who have moved on into to the 21st century, his vitriolic rhetoric?

Or, better yet, get a life!

Al Haugen

Scotia

Letters Policy

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There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.

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For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.

 
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