Ge investment cause for cheers, not fears
The Oct. 6 edition of The Sunday Gazette contained a front-page story on General Electric that was an early Halloween scare for the Capital Region. The goal apparently was to frighten readers about the future of GE operations locally.
While Halloween is still a few days away, there is nothing scary at all about the GE Schenectady record in recent years.
The story makes the claim that GE has been looking to leave Schenectady for many years. The fact is that since 2000, the company has invested over $800 million in the Capital Region with over $635 million of that new investment coming to Schenectady County. All told, GE has created more than 1,600 new jobs in the Capital Region in the past four years alone, with the vast majority of these new positions located in Schenectady County.
In the last two years, GE opened its new advanced battery business in Schenectady, relocated the headquarters of its largest industrial business unit from Atlanta to Schenectady, brought new work to its Schenectady steam turbine and generator facility, and continued to grow its flagship Global Research Center in Niskayuna. GE also moved its newly launched GE Ideas Works business from New Jersey to Albany and initiated a major expansion of its medical equipment manufacturing facility in Rensselaer County.
These new GE investments locally did not happen by accident. They are the direct result of the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation and its ability to adapt to ever-changing market conditions to remain competitive. They are also a tribute to the very hard-working men and women who help GE’s local operations win new business in an extremely challenging world marketplace.
We owe special thanks to the members of IUE/CWA 301 who helped lead the way in bringing the new battery plant to Schenectady and are committed to efforts aimed at keeping good-paying GE jobs here in our community.
Schenectady County’s local leaders and unified economic development team also played a major role in helping to pave the way for more GE investments by working closely with our state and federal representatives to support the cutting-edge R & D and strategically important manufacturing work done here.
GE’s dedication to our community extends beyond business investments as well. Last year alone, GE contributed over $5 million to local schools and organizations, and employees donated 62,000 hours of volunteer service in the region.
So the record is clear, not cloudy nor scary. GE has made enormous local investments in recent years and its commitments have been welcomed and recognized by the community. We value GE and the company’s dedicated employees, and we have every reason to look forward to continued success.
The writer is commissioner of economic development in Schenectady County and chairman of of the Metroplex Development Authority.
Exorcise bad budget demons in Washington
Long ago and far away in Washington, a monetary monster was created that threatens national solvency, having clouded the collective mind of Congress to behave as if budgets don’t matter, a Frankenstein so powerful it has actually shut down our federal government.
Unscrupulous senior congressmen possessed by partisan demons dreamed up that legislative nightmare in order to cover their inability to balance the budget. For five consecutive years, the “CR” [continuing resolution] Frankenstein has caused unbudgeted, uncontrolled government overspending on borrowed money.
We’re broke! Our descendants seem doomed to inherit a transformed, poor and destitute nation. We will all be haunted in our graves by their cries of anguish.
Patriotic Americans condemn Washington’s poltergeist politics. Marches on the Capitol every Halloween eve armed with torches and pitchforks seem appropriate.
Evil partisan spirits control senior congressmen, who behave like zombies and automatons. Short of a multiple exorcisms, only a plurality of first- or second-term congressman not yet possessed by Washington demons can undo Washington’s mistakes. The only path to saving America’s solvency: the enlightened haunting of polling places.
Address the CR monster by requiring that all future “continuing resolutions” be funded 5 percent less than previous year’s. Thereafter, a balanced budget would be demanded by Democratic spenders and savored by Republican savers. October would no longer be haunted by CR chaos. With “balanced” budgets, the solvency threatening [the] “debt limit” ogre would be banished as well. Slain, two monsters with one blow?
With Washington a less “spirited” place, Americans can live more happily ever after.
Casino $$ for education? We’ve heard that before
Re Oct. 23 editorial, “Concerns about casinos and the arts legitimate”: Over 40 years ago, I remember my father’s No. 1 complaint regarding property taxes: I send you kids to parochial school and I still have to pay school taxes. Forty years later, I’m saying (almost) the same thing: I don’t have any kids at all, and I’m paying school taxes.
If these taxes weren’t so regressive, I probably wouldn’t be echoing my dad’s sentiments. What, exactly, are we getting for our taxes anyhow?
A recent example — students and their parents surrounding a whole school and the city’s police force — comes to mind. And a less-than-60 percent graduation rate citywide in schools is another example of how far — or low — we’ve come.
Wasn’t the state lottery supposed to offset school taxes over 40 years ago? New Yorkers were given all kinds of promises then. Forty years later come the same promises for casino gambling: It’ll lower your school property taxes. By how much? The governor and his Division of Budget don’t say.
Sure, the state will supposedly reap almost $500 million in receipts from seven casinos, we’re told from Albany. And, again, whatever monies each municipality will benefit from, there is no certainty that we’ll get to see that money used to offset property taxes of any kind! Promises, promises.
To bring real fiscal sanity back to New York, vote “no” on this amendment to the state constitution. Unless you like paying higher taxes for everything in years to come. In that case, vote yes.
Industry chose wrong way to ‘sell’ fracking
In Russ Wege’s Oct. 25 Viewpoint, he writes, “Unfortunately, a fear of hydrofracking and gross misinformation about gas energy development evolved into a political force ...”
It’s a line that’s been used before and implies that public resistance is unfounded and that the energy companies are exempted from the discussion. What I mean is the energy companies did a lousy job of selling natural gas development. They tried to sell it as a “get rich quick” scheme instead of as a needed bridge fuel to get America off of our reliance on foreign energy.
In my opinion, they should have begun the gas campaign at the user end: converting all coal-burning energy plants and public transit systems to natural gas, and gradually retrofitting autos and gas stations to accommodate natural gas.
So, as far as trust goes, don’t blame the people. Rather, blame the energy companies for ineffective marketing of the product and casting a cloud of exploitation over the issue. It also didn’t help that when the energy companies originally began to sell natural gas development in New York state, America was experiencing the largest oil spill in our history.
There have been an endless number of environmental blunders since. So, don’t blame the people for the “fear of hydrofracking.” It’s only a natural reaction. Perhaps the energy companies should start over with their natural gas sales campaign, this time first by increasing domestic use and demand.
Remember shutdown in November 2014
The cost to the economy of the recent government shutdown, and failure to raise the debt ceiling, was estimated at $24 billion.
Guaranteed, they will not attempt this folly next October, as they will most definitely want your vote, and hope you have short-term memory loss a year from now.
Those representatives in the House that caused this stupidity need to be held accountable. Voters, please remember next November.
The deadline for election letters is Tuesday, Oct. 29. We will continue to run selected letters on local races through Thursday, Oct. 31 in the online edition.