Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Sunday, June 20

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Paser, Rivera should lead Sch’dy schools

With a new school year looming, the Schenectady school district must quickly fill two leadership positions soon to be vacated: school board president and interim school superintendent.
A newly-constituted school board, effective July 1, is unprecedented in Schenectady.
All seven members women, four of color, underline the importance of women in community life and the growing empowerment of Schenectady’s communities of color, which comprise about a third of the city’s residents and whose children account for about 75% of the district’s nearly 10,000 students.
I propose that the school board designate as its president Beatrice Rivera, a Black Latina, a onetime teacher in the district, now a professional in NYSUT, the statewide teacher’s union.
As board president, Rivera would be positioned to spearhead improving relations between the Schenectady Federation of Teachers, a NYSUT affiliate, and the district leadership.
I propose further that the interim superintendent be a seasoned administrator in the district, specifically, Dr. Patty Paser, who has risen from school principal to assistant for nearly a decade to two Schenectady superintendents.
Reportedly, Paser is nearing retirement. The district would benefit greatly with her as interim superintendent for a year or two, providing the board time to recruit a permanent supervisor by a fundamentally improved process.
The prospects for Paser succeeding as interim superintendent, jointly with Rivera as board president, would likely be enhanced, since the district is slated to receive a substantial multi-year increase in federal and state aid needed to improve student performance, staff morale, and community support.
Alvin Magid
Niskayuna

Wealthy contribute to economic vitality

“The greedy rich, don’t pay their fair share in taxes” is the mantra of the progressive party.
Let’s take a look at one of these greedy rich, Jeff Bezos.
He started a company called Amazon, which now employs 1.6 million people. The average income tax, paid by citizens in the United States is $15,000/year. I’ll use $10,000/year.
Multiply $10,000 by 1.6 million people and the government income tax from Amazon is $16 billion.
If we continued with Facebook, Apple, and Google, you can easily see how the Treasury’s income can be in the trillions of dollars. With those returns, we need more, not less greedy people.
We don’t need the likes of A.O.C, Schumer, and Pelosi to push Biden’s buttons towards socialism. We need a leader that understands capitalism by creating an atmosphere to keep delivering greedy entrepreneurs. That person is Donald Trump. I know how much people hate him and I understand their angst. I, too wish he would keep his mouth shut.
If we continue down the path towards socialism, we’ll end up like Cuba or Venezuela where the rich only reside in government and the people are equally poor. Then the progressives won’t have to worry about the greedy rich.
As always, God Bless us, our families and God Bless America.
Vince Alescio
Clifton Park

Boat inspection editorial hit the mark

Loved the June 5 editorial (“Require boat inspections for invaders”) on boat inspections. Thank you very much!
John F. Sheehan
Albany
The writer is the Adirondack Council Director of Communications.

Slavery is rooted in trade and wealth

One difference between slavery as it exists now and the many years of slavery in the United States was its sophisticated entanglement with the major powers of the day through trans-Atlantic trade and capital.
This financial system allowed slaves to be used as collateral on loans to industrialists so that the advanced economies of the day were dependent on it.
This system combined with the day-to-day conditions of slavery, which excluded education and included the selling of family members created long term disadvantages many of which continued in the Jim Crow era.
As Abraham Lincoln stated in March 1865, ‘if God wills that it continue (the Civil War) until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’
Mary Lyford
Amsterdam

 

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

51 Comments

William Marincic

Mary Lyford Juneteenth the day that the Republicans and the union army freed the slaves from their Democrat slave holders.

Almost a hundred and fifty years ago.
More recently the Republicans dreamed up the “Southern Strategy”
What’s your point?

Guy Varoma

Vince Alscio your logic is mind boggling ….Jeff Bezo employs people and they pay taxes so he should not pay taxes…..ThTis a new way at looking a greed….When Reagan introduced “Trickle Down Economics” ..People fell for it…..Yours is more transparent …Let the greedy not pay taxes because they gave us jobs …I would write to the RNC suggest this new philosophy…let the greedy be greedy because they are above paying their fair share of taxes …….Remember the greedy are never satisfied and their thirst can never be quenched … Even at the cost of others

FRED BARNEY

” The invisible hand is a term that Scottish moral philosopher and political economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) used to describe the unintended social benefits of individual actions. The term refers to the free market’s ability to allocate factors of production, products and services to their most valuable use. ”

What matters is not motivation but the results of what you call greed produces.

Wasn’t greed mentioned in the Christian bible somewhere? I thought I remember something about it. Mr. Alscio makes me think I’m mistaken.

How about it, Mr. Alscio? God bless, and all that, but good to be greedy? Trump blasphemy against Christian theology’s good?
Got it. But surely not in the Christian faith I was raised in.

In 2007 and 2011, Jeff Bezos paid $0 in federal income taxes. His company has avoided paying, or has paid a minimal amount each year in federal income taxes, despite both himself and his company being worth billions of dollars. It’s insane to me that so many working people think the employees should pay more in taxes than the CEO and his company.

Joseph Vendetti

Gentlemen:

The wealthiest 1% pay 94% of all US tax burden. What are you suggesting, we shift our tax responsibilities to them? A redistribution of wealth?

Payroll tax, medicare tax, fuel surcharges, over the road tax, etc etc – there are numerous others like school, property & local curb taxes businesses pay just to turn the lights on.

Further when the headline “x corp” or “y person” paid no federal tax in any particular year its because they over paid in prior years & then it was recognized and an adjusted return filed.

Businesses are hard to open, even harder to survive past 5 years, owners work 80+ hrs a week – should there be no financial gain for taking that shot?

Joe, I’m not a business man, or an economist so take this as an honest question. But when you say, “The wealthiest 1% pay 94% of all US tax burden”, are you making a distinction between the individual and their corporation? It doesn’t sound like it.
And can you provide examples of corporations like GE or Amazon showing they “amended” their filings when caught out paying nothing, or less?

FRED BARNEY

Taxes are paid by individuals. For example taxes collected from corporations diminish the owners well being. For those who have pensions you might want to reflect on the security of your pension funds that is the result of corporate profits.

The reason that politicians want to tax corporations is that the voter sees the benefit but not the personal cost. To understand the economics of taxation one must distinguish between where a tax is collected and who actually pays it. For example sales tax is collected from the seller but paid for by the customer.

Your numbers are off. According to The Tax Foundation, the top 1% pay 37% of the total tax burden. The top 50% pay 97% of the total tax burden. As more and more wealth gets concentrated at the top and wages stagnate for everyone else, we should expect that the top 1% pay more in taxes, since they own more of the wealth in the country.

FRED BARNEY

Alvin Magid thinks money will improve student performance. If teachers are going to be more effect with more money to spend the lot of them needs to be replaced. I suggest that increased student performance can be obtained by keep the school open for teachers to required to help students with their increased amount of homework.

Of course a a start on educational improvement requires the the school board publish the ACTUAL achievements of students on standardized state exams.

William Aiken

Alvin Magid cites Beatrice Rivera’s background with the Teacher Union as a reason she qualifies for a school board President. The TU has fiercely opposed charter schools for decades. School choice give parents the option to take their kids out of failing government schools. There’s ample proof students do better in charter schools

The evidence as cited in a Harvard study—both anecdotal and quantitative—has consistently shown that public charter schools use the flexibilities in their school models to best serve students, especially those who are historically underserved by public schools.

Here’s the link: https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/11/what-new-harvard-study-shows-about-student-performance-charter-schools

Ms. Rivera’s ties to the TU precludes her from supporting charter schools, which have a proven track record of improving student performance. Thus giving them a better shot at success in life. The TU represents the interests of the teachers, not the students. Parents are deserving of a system where they have control of their tax dollars to follow the student, not waste their money on the same old failed approach.

FRED BARNEY

If I discover that we are about to meet I shall go out and buy a hat so that I may show my respect by tipping it to you!

LOUIS RESTIFO

Speaking of hats:
As Cynthya said the other day, You may not be able to fix stupid, but the red MAGA hats sure make it easier to identify.

William Marincic

Lou every day all you do is insult people. Why are you not banned? I know others who have been banned and moderated for far less insulting and attacks than you.

I continue to be amazed that you people seem to think that sources with an obvious agenda would be honest, which makes me question your own honesty. I don’t look to the Realtors’ Association whether to buy a house (because of course they want to sell houses) and I likewise won’t look to a group advocating for charter schools to see if charter schools are a good idea. No matter that they cite Harvard.

Here. A little more balanced:
https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-charter-school-3194629

They cite a couple issues (and benefits) with charter schools, one of which struck home for me. I came through a local suburban public school system, K-12 and for the most part feel very fortunate to have. Digging deeper than the resources and instruction made available to me, the stability of knowing you had in essence a second family played a huge role in my development.
That elementary school and middle school and high school are still there and I believe most of my classmates would remember their school bus drivers’, school nurses’, even custodians’ names. Many of my teachers are still there because the school is an integral part of the community. There were rarely problems with staff, partly because staff were often also parents of students, or otherwise members of the community.
Charter schools lack the oversight, accountability, transparency and the longevity that helps ensure quality. Teacher turnover is high. In truth, charter schools seem to come and go, like department stores. This is detrimental to a child’s growth, especially when there is so much unpredictable about the rest of their world.

Blame it on my schooling. ; )
(we also learned how to debate, not the dishonest talking past one another we see now, that supposedly passes for it)

William Aiken

Charter schools lack the oversight, accountability, transparency and the longevity that helps ensure quality.

The above items you have cited often don’t ensure quality. Yet, this red tape often does keep kids trapped in poverty. In many instances its the immovable bureaucracy of government schools that keeps the failed status quo. Charter schools over time have simply delivered better results, particularly for poor minority students. Why would you deny a parent the option of school choice?

Competition for school taxes creates a more efficient, productive system. Why deny charter schools the opportunity to compete for those tax dollars?

It’s not as though government school system have a stellar track record, here. In many districts, the Teacher Union have established a monopoly that doesn’t ever hold teachers accountable. Thus a failing education system gets a passing grade.

“Government schools”?
That the new dog-whistle you’re hearing?
Very suspicious. Why can’t you call them “public schools” like everyone else?

William Aiken

You may call them whatever you like. I raised two legitimate questions regarding the option of school choice and competing for school tax dollars. TU supporters never address these issues. Care to take a stab, Chuck?

I’m sorry but your statements are dripping with some other agenda.
And you’re presuming I’m a “TU supporter”. Full disclosure: my parents were career public school teachers, and members of NYSUT. And I have big problems with some of the stances the union has taken, but I also know the good they’ve done in the face of bloated administrations and increasingly obnoxious, hypercritical parents.

I’ve read the horror stories of reprimanded Metro NY teachers being sent to rooms to sit, sometimes for months, while their cases wander around the system, delayed by the union. But as in most things in NY, there’s a huge difference between the Metro world and the rest of the state. You can say the same about law enforcement and their unions, but mention “defund the police” and the shrieks of angst are deafening.

So I’m not ready to throw public schools, their teachers or their union under the bus, or sarcastically start calling them “government schools”. The vast majority of school systems provide an above average education for their students, *including and especially those who aren’t headed for the ivy leagues*. Is that what you’re so worried about?

And I firmly stand behind my points about the stability and predictability of the public school system being necessary for psychologically healthy kids, and not for department store charter schools.

William Aiken

If you see competition for government schools as throwing them under the bus, then I understand why you support the monopoly of the Teacher Uniions.
Im not looking for agreement, I prefer clarity.

I believe you’re equating “government” with indoctrination and that’s what you all are upset about. It just logically follows with the panty-twisting over critical race theory, and any other attrocity you think the liberals are forcing on you.
What I believe drives you is a paranoia fed by other paranoiacs. Keep believing it, keep believing science is bogus, keep believing the election was stolen, that your Trump has done nothing wrong, that Whites are the master race. But maybe you should consider finding another plot of land than the US. Rational Americans won’t accept those things.

Hah. Anyone outside the Fox/trump bubble paying attention can predict what the message is. Sure don’t need to be a mind reader.

Guy Varoma

The corporate tax rate is 21% …The problem is they use the loopholes to pay next to nothing …..I would like to see where the wealthiest 1% pay pay 94% of the taxes ….I have heard this before as talking point on Fox News that republicans spew …but no actual proof that they do .Maybe you can cite a QAnon report?.

FRED BARNEY

For a fair tax system all we need do is to require local programs to be paid for by local tax payers. Lack of tax fairness comes into play when one level of government gets to spend money that they did not raise from their voters.

Joseph Vendetti

Guy:

I’m a moderate Registered Democrat in the City of Schenectady.

My company is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) by the Federal Government as well as several key States where we perform much of our business. We employ hundreds of men and women around the US. We provide educational opportunities, health care, life insurance, family scholarships and many of our craft (heavy equipment operators, burners, laborers, superintendents, safety officers) make over 6 figures yearly.

Congress created every loophole that exists. Our CPA firm takes advantage of every legal loophole possible. If he didn’t he would be doing a disservice to us and other clients.

Not a fan of CNN or Fox – more MSNBC guy, Wall Street Journal, Peterson Foundation is a non-partisan economic think tank.

You still didn’t answer Guy’s question, the same that I asked: where do you get that the top 1% pay 94% of taxes, and where’s some evidence large corps amend their returns when caught (and where are the penalties)?

Guy Varoma

It is a well know fact that the middle class bear the brunt of being taxed …This voodoo economics you play is a throw back to the Reagan years ..

Florida2015

Mr Vendetti, Is correct about congress. What is your take correcting the system so the likes of GE, Amazon and others pay something? As individual tax payers we get deductions to lower our tax bills, but they are the same ones generally available to every individual though wide ranging. Disparities abound it that system. some common sense items higher tax states (NY) allowed to write off only 10 thousand after 2017 tax write off. I need bigger write off because I live in hurricane area and pay double for house insurance, on and on.
To much has been written into the tax code as the result of lobbyist for special interests.
You are a smart business man to pay excellent wages, which I,m sure helps retain those employees, helping to make your company successful.
Why do developers have special breaks and reduced tax rates? Does your business have write offs specific to your business? Just looking for some thoughts as we need to do many if not all of Biden’s infrastructure plan as a start, just to begin to compete with China and others. We can’t keep putting it on the company credit card for ever.

Joseph Vendetti

Florida:

The tax code needs fixing – (which will never happen). Those loopholes were created by heavy lobbying that benefit Republicans & Democrats that get huge corporate donations from Berkshire Hathaway, GE, Amazon, etc. The law allows “International” Corporations to shield a certain % of overall corporate receipts to shield from US or any other tax.

Meanwhile a company like mine that only has US locations & majority of revenue derived from services performed in lower 48 can’t benefit from that loophole.

I think the only way to correct these issues are – 1.) Term Limits for all politicians, 2.) Campaign finance reform & 3.) stop allowing these massive dollars to be spent on campaigns.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Ok, Here’s some of my take on Taxes for corporations and individuals as well:

No statistical research, just my limited bubble experience as learned from having the same business for 51 of my 72 years. My current involvement with the business is close to being zero as you can get. My son is running 98 percent of the operation. Having made many business relationships, some which became personal friends my main task is public relations with our long standing customers.

Firstly, I believe what Joe said; “The wealthiest 1% pay 94% of all US tax burden.” is backwards I’m not going to start posting skewed statistical information. The trickle down theory is complete BS. Period!

When I started my business in 1971 I wore many hats. Our employees were 3, me, my partner and one other person. Part of what I did was all the bookkeeping, including tax filings to both the state and federal governments. After a couple years of an expanding business we hired a bookkeeper and we could also afford an accountant. The first thing he told me after looking at old returns was that I was being “stupid” for paying taxes I didn’t have to. Lesson learned. I was still a wet behind the ears kid. Not paying for an account cost me money.

After 10 years and up to the present time my business has maintained in the neighborhood of approximately 20 employees with an additional 10 or so sub-contractors working for us on a regular basis. I found the niche I wanted to be in. The business at that size could could afford me the time and enough money to do the things I wanted to.

Under the advice of “smart” accounts I have over the years started a second corporation that is associated with the first as well changing some of the realty aspect of my business. Every move was 100 percent legal and every move put more money in my pocket. In the not to far past we again changed the type of corporation and saved additional money.

Don’t get me wrong, many if not most years, unlike Amazon etc. my corporation has and is paying six figure dollar amounts to Uncle Sam. I know that If I could afford to have the legal and accounting staff equal to that of Jeff Bezos I would be paying Zero.

Golly gee, after paying all those taxes I still made 5 to 10 times the amount of my average employee. I have absolutely no complaints other than big business and the very wealthy are definitely not paying their “fair share” thanks to top notch lawyers, accountants, lobbyists and people like trump.

I get quite upset when I hear successful business people, at pretty much any level, bitch about tax laws, and the taxes they pay. Shut up be happy that you’ve been able to navigate the business world and be as successful as you are.

The average Joe salaried employee in America has very few tax options, probably just two: Pay your taxes or go to jail.

Joseph Vendetti

Chuck:

Data points – congressional budget office (Cbo), heritage foundation, peterson, wall street journal all track US revenue sources and have what top 1% pay, top 10%, etc.

As for taxes –

Going by own personal experiences in paying corporate taxes and having over paid significantly enough in 4 quarters that we needed to file an amended return the following year. Plus GE, Amazon any public ly trade company you can view financials, look for the asterisk why they paid zero, because the thousands of pages of filings aren’t all public.

Right. So you cite specific (yet still vague) numbers and when questioned on the source you basically say, “go fish”. Google is your friend, right? How about, “go pound sand”?

Sorry, if you want to be taken seriously then support your statements seriously. I’m pretty sure people like Sanders and Warren, politicians who have proven records of working for their constituents, would disagree with you.

Joseph Vendetti

Chuck

The only things I should be taken seriously on – 1.) explosives 2.) demolition techniques 3.) asbestos abatement procedures

Things i have strong opinions on & consider myself knowledgeable- basketball coaching & race horses.

Things I read about , have an opinion and are blog proficient- politics, baseball, border security, taxes, parenting, gardening

William Marincic

Joe why do you bother? They know their facts and real facts will never get in the way. They tell you that your facts are wrong because they refuse to look at the sources that you cited so it’s your fault that they can’t agree with you.

Joseph Vendetti

Lou

I agree we are lucky and by paying taxes means we had a great year.

The only problem I have with raising taxes is it takes away from things we do for our employees. Just like when the affordable care act was forced on us , we already provide all of our employees with health coverage, ir changed our plan coverage, made it more expensive (for same plan) and made it a high deductible plan.

You also know that the average tax payer didn’t have the responsibility that you and your family has. By taking on that burden of risk there is a reward that should be higher then just someone that turns it off at 5 pm. Your name is on the business you could get sued not your employee if he runs a red light and kills someone.

Nothing in who is paying the taxes is a trickle down and I dont promote that.

LOUIS RESTIFO

I don’t believe the vast majority of people working today turn it off at 5 o’clock. More often than not you have to go above and beyond to be successful, even as an employee.

To many businessmen are owned by their businesses, excessively driven. They love and thrive on it.

I put in 60/70 hour weeks for the first 5 to 10 years. From that point on because I had great employees that I compensated well and understood what allocating responsibility meant, I probably have averaged 20 hours a week. My final 10 years of working we’re probably 10 hours a week. Huge advantage of not having to look at a clock coming and going as you please extended lunch hours days off without asking anyone. The time meant as much if not more to me than the money.

I just want to say to the business owners here (that have evidence that they are, unlike some who’s initial is Zachery and hasn’t show any), that I have high regard for what you’ve chosen to do.
Ever since my sad attempts to maintain a paper route and sell 4-H cookies as a kid, I’ve known business wasn’t in my future. Fortunately fixing things, complicated things, worked out for me. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, who also worked full time for GE and Cornell U, and I’ve been acutely aware of the sacrifice and risks that need to be made to run a business.
This pandemic has clearly tested business people like never before and so many didn’t make it. I very intentionally shop locally as the least I can do to support you all.
Thank you.
Just don’t try to sell me crap.
; )

LOUIS RESTIFO

Chuck, if you read what I’ve said you will realize there was no 💩regarding what my take on businesses and corporations is, mine included. No regrets, all positive when compared to a 9 to 5. Never had and still don’t have issues paying taxes. – I knew trump’s tax laws would and did save me money. Unlike most, or at least many business men I didn’t vote for him. I have a conscience.

I completely disagree with Joe’s well documented opinion on corporate tax laws and where he wants them to go. And to be honest I don’t want to be lumped into the same category as him or Zach when it comes to business. (Still luv ya Chuck) Oh my, Fred should have fun with that one.

I didn’t say it before but I’ll say it now, I also think it’s a BS rational to say by paying less in taxes the money can go to employees through health insurance etc. The overwhelming vast amount of corporate tax cut $$ goes to the top executives. Ask Jeff Bezos.

Look at places like Walmart and locally the Golub corporation. They love part time employees so as to save money with mandatory benefits for full time employees.

Yes there are some businesses that are small and scrounging and can’t afford to pay the owners a proper wage let alone give employees cushy benefits. Those small mom and pop stores are the businesses my heart goes out to. How many tens of thousands of small businesses have been squashed because of corporations like Walmart or Amazon?

No sympathy for tax crying people with business the size of Joe’s, Zach’s or mine. (apparently the smallest of the three)

Hey, you each have your own experience, no luv lost, my friend.
I just wanted to express my admiration, as the child of the anti-Capitalist 60’s, for the grit and stamina and senses of optimism I’ve seen displayed by business, and especially local small businesses, over the past 15 months.
Rock on!

BTW, by “don’t sell me crap” should be read as if the product quality isn’t good I can take my dollars elsewhere. Not that you or Joe were being untruthful.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Thanks for the clarification.

So I guess that means we wouldn’t be able to do business if I owned a fertilizer company, that is unless my product was as another product was described by Tommy Chong in the movie Up in Smoke: “Hey man, this is good s–t!

Florida2015

Very short definition of what Reagan forced on the country. Still in effect today.

Trickle down economics’ aka ‘supply-side economics’, was also called ‘the horse and the sparrow’ economics. You stuff enough oats into the horse and sooner or later some ends up on the roadway for the sparrow.

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