Tax-cut plan won’t create new business, but will cost money
Re May 30 editorial, “Tax-free zones just the ticket for upstate": While I agree that encouraging new businesses to form and grow in New York state is an admirable goal, creating tax-free zones is not a good approach.
Here’s why. The editorial claims the proposal would be a relief of taxes that are not being collected today. The implication is that we are not really giving anything up, but gaining new jobs and the benefits these jobs produce. However, any new job involves someone who uses our roads, bridges, police, firemen, courts and a plethora of other services and conveniences provided by the taxes we pay. Excluding some people and businesses from paying these taxes requires the rest of us to pay more to cover them.
There are other problems. Existing businesses will explore ways to restructure their planned growth in such a way to take advantage of such programs and avoid paying taxes they would otherwise have to pay. Buried in such activities are myriad deals and gimmicks that will serve a few at the expense of many.
As far as start-ups are concerned, the last thing on the mind of an entrepreneur with a new idea is the taxes that will have to be paid on the profits. What are important for a start-up are its customer base, its value proposition and a clear idea of who will pay for its products. Obviously taxes, like other business costs, become critical as an enterprise grows and begins to seek higher productivity and efficiency. The governor’s proposal is directed at the inception phase of a company, where the goal is the creation of a profitable business to begin with.
Finally, there is a more destructive aspect to the proposal that is subtle, but quite real: The proposal presents taxes as an evil that is keeping businesses from growing, rather than a contribution to make our society work for all of us. I am all for reducing the tax burden, but that should not come at the expense of making taxes an evil that needs to be destroyed.
Our government should work on how to make its operations more efficient, more customer-friendly, and adopt the changes that have made modern businesses successful and world-class. Our success would mean that businesses from around the world would naturally want to locate here by virtue of the quality of our government, our people and our infrastructure.
Glenville’s dog-barking law gets ignored, too
The June 1 letterabout barking dogs in Schenectady and Rotterdam prompts me to write about the same problem in Glenville.
In my neighborhood, we have the same old problem: Let your dog out in the yard any time day or night and let it bark forever. The dog owners who do this are either deaf or could care less about the neighbors. Don’t bother to mention how annoying it is, because they won’t listen.
The town’s website clearly spells out how long you can leave your dog out barking, and they have a dog control officer to enforce it.
GOP strategy vs. Obama failed; time for new one
Following the 2008 presidential election, the Republican congressional leadership stated that their primary goal for the next four years was to ensure that President Obama would be a one-term president.
To this end, they launched a continuous barrage of attacks on his policies and character. Moreover, they obstructed all his efforts to pass legislation that might improve the economy and create jobs. This strategy did not work and the president was reelected in 2012.
Given the 2012 election results, one might expect that the Republican leadership would now adopt a strategy different strategy. Instead, we see more of the same: continuous attacks on the president’s policies and character, and obstruction of legislation even when it is bipartisan.
For example, the Republicans have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act 37 times; a number of Republican lawmakers have suggested that the president be impeached because of issues associated with the raising of the debt ceiling, the Benghazi attack, and the IRS investigation; and a bipartisan gun purchase background check amendment failed to receive the 60-vote threshold needed to break a Republican filibuster in the Senate when most Republicans voted against the amendment.
Perhaps someone should inform the Republican members of Congress that President Obama cannot seek a third term and that they should focus on their primary responsibility as specified in the Constitution, namely to pass legislation which serves the best interests of the public.
Drunken drivers haven’t caused a ban on cars
I watched a segment on MSNBC’s Jansing and Co. on May 9. Chris Jansing’s guest was the founder [Candy Lightner] of MADD — Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Jansing asked Lightner what she thought about the fight for gun control and what Lightner did that was so effective in her campaign to curb drunken driving. Lightner’s response was to first focus on the driver. How ironic is that statement when compared to how gun control advocates attempt to deal with gun violence?
When it comes to a murder by a madman with a gun, why do gun control advocates blame the gun instead of blaming the shooter? Why do they blame the tool the shooter used to kill with?
In the case of the drunken driver killing someone with their car, why is the focus on the driver instead of the car the driver used? The thought process here is not consistent. If it were, the way to deal with mass murderers would be to focus on the shooter, just like focusing on the driver with drunk driving.
Public awareness of gun violence and gun safety awareness could be emphasized to encourage safer and more responsible gun ownership. More and better mental health services should also be made available to help with mental health issues.
Targeting law-abiding citizens’ rights is not fair and is not common sense.
Feds go too far against ‘unwelcome’ speech
Re May 26 George Will column, “Shoot first, ask questions about sexual harassment later”: As a former Education Department lawyer, I share George Will’s dismay about the Education Department’s recent pressure on colleges to ban speech — such as sexual humor or “written materials” that are “sexually explicit” — that a single hypersensitive person finds “unwelcome.”
Even sexually explicit speech is protected by the First Amendment in college settings, under the Supreme Court’s 1973 Papish decision. The Education Department is ignoring not just that decision, but also the Supreme Court’s 1999 ruling that student speech must be not just “unwelcome,” but also “severe” and “objectively offensive,” to constitute sexual harassment.
The Education Department’s recent definition of sexual harassment would brand a professor as a “sexual harasser” if he lectured to an audience of 500 about how HIV is transmitted though anal sex, and just one of his listeners found it “unwelcome.”
Courts have struck down campus sexual harassment codes on free speech grounds, even when [doing so] banned less speech than Education Department officials now want to prohibit. In DeJohn v. Temple University (2008), judges voided a harassment code because it banned not just “objectively” harmful speech, but also speech that merely offended some listeners.
Hunger strike cause should give us pause
Re June 4 article, “Hungering for a cause”: The Gazette serves us well by giving publicity to Eliot Adams’ hunger strike in protest of Guantanamo and its sadistic abuse of prisoners.
In so many ways our prosperity is founded on the unconscionable abuse of others; the Bangladesh clothing industry, for example. We have to know, as prisoners always say, that what goes around comes around.
Eliot Adams reminds us that eventually there will be an accounting for such despicable abuse as is being perpetrated by us at Guantanamo.
Raymond J. Lawrence
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