Cutting the size of government preferable to raising taxes on rich
Re your Sept. 17 editorial [“Dems should force vote on tax cut renewal”] that the tax rate for the top 3 percent of taxpayers be returned to just shy of 40 percent. Why?
Someone gets really productive by doing what they do well, and you want the government to go in and take just shy of half of their income away?
Then there are around half of our citizens not paying any income tax. With no “skin in the game,” these people have no interest in putting politicians’ feet to the fire to curtail excessive spending and eliminate waste in government programs. Often, these people are also receiving some kind of entitlement from the government as well, so, again, there is even less incentive to push for a leaner and more-efficient government, be it local, state or federal.
What should be done first, before taking even more money from hard-working taxpayers, is what most businesses have had to do in this grave economic environment: Lay off unnecessary public employees, root out waste and curtail any increase in current budgets. Have you noticed that during the recession, government — even our local public library — has clipped along, increasing spending in each successive budget? No public-sector layoffs have occurred that I am aware of.
Our public pensions are no longer solvent, and government is looking to the taxpayer for a bailout. A private-sector taxpayer should not be bailing out his public-sector neighbor’s retirement when his own retirement — funded by himself in many cases — is also doing poorly in the volatile stock market.
Government has grown into a behemoth that is no longer affordable. To preserve the concept of “paddling your own canoe,” if government is to help people, we should have programs in place to encourage people to take care of themselves. We need reform to make government less costly and more efficient. Taxing the “rich” is a poor solution to government’s fiscal problems.
City of Johnstown must join battle against noise
Mayor Sarah Slingerland and the Johnstown City Council need to give more consideration to the idea of controlling the ever-persistent problem of noise pollution around the city.
Currently, the noise level from loud automobiles, motorcycles and car radios/boom boxes, noisy rental properties, and teenagers hanging out after dark on city streets has become a growing problem for city residents and visiting tourists. Persistent noise is capable of producing direct and cumulative adverse effects that impair health and degrade residential, social, working and learning environments.
The people of a community have the right to choose what goes on in their neighborhoods; it should not be imposed on them by others. Domestic tranquility is one of the six guarantees in the U.S. Constitution. The World Health Organization in 1971 concluded that noise is a major threat to humans’ health and well-being.
Noise is a serious problem; it is one of many paper cuts that slice away at quality of life until a neighborhood bleeds good residents. It’s unfortunate that the city needs to legislate common courtesy. Courtesy, unfortunately, is increasingly uncommon in this day and age.
Some of the biggest offenders in the city are absentee landlords who don’t manage their rental homes in a responsible manner, thus creating chronic nuisances in the city of Johnstown’s neighborhoods. What is it going to take to get the city officials to do something? They need to enact an ordinance that encourages responsible property ownership. The ordinance I’m proposing should hold all property owners liable for civil penalties and criminal charges if they create chronic problems for their neighborhoods. I’m talking about properties that have more than two complaints a year.
Absentee city property owners need to monitor their property and take appropriate and reasonable action to prevent or address behavior or activities occurring that contribute to crime or create public nuisances. A property owner that fails to take this action threatens the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood and the city as a whole, and it is necessary for the city to be able to undertake administrative or judicial action.
The mayor and city council should listen to residents’ concerns, and review ordinances governing a variety of noisy activities and find out more about police efforts to enforce existing ordinances.
Russell W. Dickson
Sch’dy tree removal crew did dangerous job well
Not a day goes by that I either read or hear of something negative about my adopted city of Schenectady. Today I would like to discuss a positive.
The trees in front of our home were old, branches were falling, some onto power lines, making for a dangerous situation. The tree removal crew sent by the city was extraordinary. They were professional, respectful, worked diligently throughout the day, in the extreme heat, and did not leave a thing for us to clean.
Thank you to these men for a difficult and dangerous job that was well done. And to the tree lovers in the city, not to worry; they will be replaced.
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