Cuomo’s tax-free zones would only hurt existing businesses

Friday, June 14, 2013
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Cuomo’s tax-free zones would only hurt existing businesses

I was shocked to read a Gazette editorial supporting Gov. Cuomo’s new ridiculous tax-free plan [May 30].

As a retired Tax Department administrator with 40 years service, if there was one thing I learned it was that tax incentives usually do not work. They are given at the expense of others, and very often, when the exception period expires, the beneficiaries move out of the state or communities.

We are recognized as a high-tax state, and in spite of that, many companies have remained here for whatever reason.

Maybe they like the schools and fine colleges, the favorable weather, the many beautiful lakes, or the fine skiing. At any rate, they have been loyal to New York state and deserve better. There is only one kind of tax incentive that works and that is “tax reductions across the board,” so everyone gets the benefit.

One of the tenets of good taxation is fairness. Apparently the governor has forgotten this or never knew it.

Picture a situation where two neighbors working in competing businesses — one tax-free in the new zone and one just outside the zone. Possibly their children attend the same public school, whose tax dollars come from one neighbor and not the other.

I suppose the message for this plan is to the new business: “Welcome to New York state,” and for the established businesses and employees who have been paying the high taxes, and will continue to do so: “Thank you for your loyalty, but we have nothing for you today.”

I certainly hope local legislators do not fall for this political ploy!

Gabriel DiCerbo


Flawed logic in anti-gay Scout leader stance

In a June 5 letter, Gary Guido expressed his opinion that adult homosexuals should be barred from leadership in the Boy Scouts of America. He also states, “There are homosexual men who would not think of engaging in sexual acts with young boys, but unfortunately many would.”

I believe that his opinion in this matter is unsound for the following reasons. Adults who engage in sexual activities with children are pedophiles, regardless of their own sexual orientation. There is no evidence that homosexual men are more inclined to be pedophiles than heterosexuals.

Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality are the same as pedophilia. Family courts throughout America are rife with examples of married men who have molested young boys and who also have wives and children of their own. Jerry Sandusky comes quickly to mind.

Also, the logic of Guido’s opinion would prohibit heterosexual male teachers and coaches from teaching and leading young women for the exact same reason.

Josephine Davis


Farms not to blame for Ballston Lake algae

Re June 8 article, “Group wants sewer system for lake”: It figures that Councilman William Goslin would blame farms for the deterioration of Ballston Lake, based on his past efforts to prevent the loss of farmland in the town. Farms are easy to blame, especially if you want to spend taxpayers’ money on your next election.

I’ll bet, though, if he were to actually visit the lake, he might see that there are few active farms bordering the once-pristine waters. In fact, it’s nitrates and phosphates that are encouraging the algae growth and not all of that comes from septic systems or farms. If the town is to seriously consider protecting the lake, it should start out by severely limiting the amount of fertilizer lake residents dump on their lawns. It’s this runoff, not farmland, that is ruining the lake, and it wouldn’t cost anything. But that’s science, not politics.

In addition to ignoring science, Mr. Goslin may very well have scotched the town’s ability to apply for any state or federal funding to defray costs. He suddenly introduced an Anti-Agenda 21 resolution, and pushed it through without discussion, ignorant of the fact that most, if not all, funding for things like sewers are very connected to the sustainability he so disdains.

You reap what you sow.

Polly Windels


Nisky school district created the mess it’s in

The fault for the recent fiscal predicament in the Niskayuna school district rests not with voters but with the district.

Voting no on the budget in May did not mean that residents do not support public education. This type of spinning is nonsensical. One can support public education while demanding fiscal restraint on the part of the district.

In my opinion, the school district misread the will of the voters when developing its budget. In the early stages, the district mentioned a possible tax increase of 11 percent. The rate was then lowered to 8 percent, followed by the final number of 5-plus percent.

When the budget suffered a major defeat, the district said it heard the voters and the new tax increase would be below the tax cap. Why didn’t the district initially come to voters with a tax increase well below the cap? Why did it wait to make changes after the budget was defeated? Now the question on the minds of some voters is whether the district could have an even lower tax increase.

Giving out all sorts of scenarios and various tax increases makes the total budget process suspect. It adds a certain amount of distrust. This was the first year that I can remember where the voters turned out in large numbers. Historically, there has been very low voter turnout on the school budget. Throughout the years, the district has raised taxes two to three times the rate of inflation. Now residents are saturated with high school taxes.

High taxes can also be a detriment to the value of property in the town, especially in this economic climate. We all want a good and viable school district, but many also want a district that takes into consideration the whole community, not just a certain segment. The board members are elected to represent the whole community. It is all the taxpayers who financially support this district. The district needs to be mindful of this fact.

Linda Rizzo


Support Nisky budget for a number of reasons

I am the mother of three children in the Niskayuna school district. In the three years we’ve lived here, the district has been faced with a barrage of speed bumps from our “education governor,” Andrew Cuomo, in terms of financial demands, mandates and the tax cap.

In spite of that, the Niskayuna school board has crafted a fair budget that alleviates the burden on the taxpayer, but also enables the students to continue the quality educational program for which Niskayuna is known.

Niskayuna has not been frivolous in its spending. Classes have been combined, courses have been eliminated and/or streamlined, and concessions have been made by employee groups. They have listened to community concerns.

We all benefit from the programs provided for the youngest among us. The children who attend Niskayuna schools are at the root of what we believe in as a community. They are achieving great things that are a source of pride to all.

Please show that pride and support on June 18 with your “yes” vote for the students of Niskayuna.

Terri Dutcher


State’s attitude over late tax refunds incredible

Like most people, I filed my income tax returns in March, long before April 15. I sent the Feds my due and filed with New York state for a refund.

As of today [June 10], I have not received it. I’ve spent hours on the web at to locate my refund, putting in all the correct information they need.

So far I get the message, “can’t locate info.” I’ve emailed the state directly and they wouldn’t take my personal information to locate my file, and advised me not to re-file for my return of $1,163.

Anyone out there in the media, or anyone in the IRS, please help, I’m on my last nerve dealing with New York state.

Dianne Chagnon Burns


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June 14, 2013
4:04 a.m.
kopacham says...

In stories related to the BSA allowing gay scouts but not gay leaders and the Southern Baptist Convention rumoring to kick out scouts due to this policy, I see a whole bunch of hypocrisy going around. Is allowing gay scouts but not allowing gay leaders akin to allowing girls as acolytes or servers in church but not allowing them to be to be priests? If the book of Leviticus is the mark by which churches are so anti-gay, shouldn't they be boycotting pork and bacon, let alone bottom dwelling sea creatures like catfish, shrimp and clams?

June 14, 2013
7:03 a.m.
gina99 says...

Ms Dicerbo please try reasoning with the Gazette and Schenectady Chamber of Commerce who both support this Cuomo disaster. Just want we need a two tier system Statewide? We see what has happened to existing businesses Downtown with Metroplex's never ending tax free competitors. If everyone paid a fair share we wouldn't be in the current fiscal mess.

June 14, 2013
5 p.m.
ronzo says...

School district created its mess - they give the taxpayers the old pinch test. Leak out a "possible" 11% tax increase to test the response. Then keep notching it down until they feel they've got a number people will accept. If they sensed that people would go for their high number, they'd stop there where they've accomplished their goal of not having to work to keep costs in control. This time they got surprised. They guessed wrong and the people told them so. Of course there will be the usual threat to school parents emotions about eliminating art classes and the athletic program. They'll blame the state, the governor and everyone else but themselves - and they'll get what they want again without having to work to implement efficiencies that will provide the students with the best possible education within the limits of what is financially possible. They'll get what they want because how many people will go out to vote on a Tuesday at the end of June, except those who have kids in school who succumb to the threats, and the few senior citizens who have paid their school dues over the decades.

June 14, 2013
8:04 p.m.
Phils2008 says...

Josephine Davis, this is just another case of a group having standards they believe in and liberals deciding they don't have that right. Its nauseating that Homosexuality is pushed on us at every turn. You've made it the cool thing to be by indoctrinating our children in our schools and through the media. The Boy Scouts of all groups are your latest target. "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country. To help other people at all times, to obey the Scout Law, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight". Please tell me where God and morality fit in the homosexual community, and then tell me why pedophiles wont be the next in line to demand their "rights".

June 15, 2013
10:09 a.m.
jjhehir says...

Ronzo, the school district did not create this mess. Over the last five years, state aid was reduced $13 million to balance the state budget while benefit costs, promised by the legislature, went up by almost $5 million.

June 15, 2013
11:27 a.m.
ronzo says...

jjhehir - school districts perpetuate a mess that cost taxpayers dearly and you wonder why property taxes are so high that people don't want to move to or stay in New York. It's the ridiculous number of school districts in a county. 700 in a state that has 57 counties. Six in little tiny Schenectady County. Twelve in rural Saratoga County where I live. All that duplication and replication cost reduces the ability to provide a better education for the students. When financial support changes, the manner of delivering education service needs to change. Consolidate. You can't expect the taxpayers to continue funding an out dated education system like this is 1963. This is the only state I've lived in that has more than one school district per county. NY operates it's schools like it's 1913 not 2013.

June 16, 2013
9:46 p.m.
jjhehir says...

Ronzo, its not the school districts that are perpetuating the fiscal mess they are in. It is your legislators and the teachers' union; they make the rules, the boards of education pay the bill.
The chances that the Niskayuna District School system would merge with adjoining districts is zero.

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