Thruway toll hike will hurt truckers, trickle down to consumers
The proposed 45 percent Thruway toll hike on commercial vehicles is an attack on all New Yorkers that will not only negatively impact truckers and businesses, but will trickle down to families and individuals.
Already facing a challenging economy along with crushing taxes and fees, the Thruway Authority now proposes a “toll adjustment” on three-axle commercial vehicles. The authority believes it is necessary for fiscal stability until a long-term plan is developed to finance its needs.
When will it be enough? These increases are exacting tolls on the fragile economy of our state and will have a ripple effect on all of us. The proposed hikes will result in higher prices in our supermarkets, in our home improvement stores, in our shopping centers and have a profound effect on our wallets.
According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, New York ranks second to last, finishing only ahead of New Jersey. In a state known for being less than business-friendly, we simply can ill afford any further “adjustments” on businesses and New Yorkers.
Rather, we should be looking to eliminate the costs. We have bailed out the Thruway Authority time and time again. With the recent takeover of the New York Racing Association, the time may be near to take similar action against the Thruway.
With no accountability or leadership, the authority has had free rein and cost the taxpayers significant amounts of wasted resources. It has failed to restructure and streamline operations.
Furthermore, the authority should be accountable to the state Legislature, where approval would be necessary for such increases.
We should commission a comprehensive review to determine cost-cutting measures and consider whether the authority should be dissolved and consolidated into the Department of Transportation.
We cannot continue on this path of ineptitude and arrogance that is draining the taxpayers of this great state.
I urge you to participate in one of three public hearings around the state in August:
u Aug. 16, from 6-8 p.m. at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square;
u Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 6301 State Route 298, East Syracuse;
u Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Hilton Garden Inn, 15 Crossroads, Newburgh.
Public comments are being accepted through Aug. 24 and can be submitted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Thruway Authority, 200 Southern Boulevard, PO Box 189, Albany, 12201.
The writer is a state assemblyman.
Global warming no problem, green energy is
The July 22 Sunday Gazette gave front billing to a Viewpoint by a modern-day “Chicken Little” [claiming that] the extreme weather is due to “global warming” and that we must implement green energy to avert this pending disaster. The author cites hundreds of broken records and extreme weather events as proof.
While I must admit the weather has been warmer than normal recently, let’s put it in perspective. The “records” that have been set are base-lined by the weather of the last 110 years or so. This represents a statistically insignificant sample when you take into account that Earth is 4.5 billion years old.
Furthermore, it is well documented that in the last 1,000 years, we have had a warming period that made Greenland green and allowed the colonization and farming by the Vikings. A bit later, the Little Ice Age occurred, lasting for several hundred years and impacting world history. Both of these weather events predated any industrialization and carbon emissions. Furthermore, approximately 10,000 years ago, there were glaciers a mile thick where the author of last Sunday’s article stands today.
I would offer that the weather then was “extreme.” Again, no carbon emissions by humans caused it.
One thing is certain: The world is going to get colder and the world is going to get warmer. We will have hurricanes and droughts. Darwin’s theory of natural selection would not have been possible without extreme weather events. All of these events will occur, no matter how many billions we invest in green energy technology.
Furthermore, if we let these “Chicken Lttles” stop New Yorkers from the economic opportunity that hydraulic fracturing represents, we will be very sorry. You can drive for miles and miles upstate and see empty and decrepit factories that were shuttered decades ago. We are the “Empire State” in name only, partly because of the cost of energy.
If we continue to give credibility to Chicken Littles who want to invest in this green energy boondoggle, we will face financial ruin. We must protect the environment and our resources, but we must take advantage of this incredible opportunity now.
Mitt Romney a mystery wrapped in an enigma
Who is Mitt Romney and why should he be president?
First of all, he is quite a man of mystery. His real name is apparently Willard but he chooses to go by Mitt. That’s fine, I guess, we’re all entitled to a nickname, especially if our parents have given us a real clunker for a proper name.
Next, he claims success at running Massachusetts as governor for four years, but his record there resulted in very low job growth — 47th out of 50 in the nation. His one success in Massachusetts was a health program on which Obamacare is based, but we’re not supposed to ask any questions about that as he now denounces the program.
His other achievements include saving the Olympics, which he did with a huge infusion of U.S. government money. Wow, very clever, but don’t mention that fact.
He started and ran Bain Capital, an investment capital or “vulture capital” enterprise (as his GOP primary opponents called it) that eliminated many functioning businesses by loading them with debt and selling them off, putting thousands out of work, then walking off with the profits. He also managed to outsource jobs — sending them overseas — all for the sake of personal profit.
Mitt apparently has offshore tax shelters in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and at least one Swiss bank account. All this is shrouded in mystery because he won’t release his tax returns for the past several years. His lovely wife, Anne, doesn’t think the American electorate is entitled to know any more about their finances, referring to the voting public as “you people.” Shall we eat cake, too, Anne?
Anne says Mitt’s a good man who tithes 10 percent of their income to their church. This, of course, is tax-deductible. And that particular church is the Mormon Church, which, again, we the people are not supposed to ask too many questions about. More mystery.
I’d hope we demand a much higher standard for transparency from our presidential candidates.
Three quacks for Albany’s Aqua Ducks
I am writing in reference to the demise of the Aqua Ducks [July 15 Gazette]. I rue the day we lose them!
I’m 86 years old. I have lived in Schenectady my whole life. I never really had an occasion to visit Albany except for business. So a few years ago, when the Carman senior citizens got together, we took a trip on the Aqua Ducks. What a fun day! It was also amazing.
I knew nothing about those stately old buildings and their relation to New York history. I believe the Better Business Bureau could not have done a better job of advertising Aqua Ducks tours for tourists. Also, elementary school children could have learned and enjoyed the trip.
The conductors on the Aqua Duck trips were fantastic! They really knew their history and seemed to enjoy their jobs.
Albany, I think you have suffered a great loss!
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