Better late than never?
When it comes to New York state's budget, well, we're not absolutely sure.
About the only thing certain about the legislative circus that resulted Tuesday night in the Senate passage of a $136.5 billion budget is that it avoided setting a record for tardiness.
As it was, when the smoke (and mirrors) finally cleared, the budget was 125 days late, a scant eight days shy of the Aug. 11 record of shame established in 2004.
Were all this year's negotiations, hand-wringing, posturing and name-calling worth the result, which increases state spending by 2.4 percent?
That depends on your viewpoint.
With Democrats in control of the governor's mansion, the Senate and the Assembly, they certainly should have been able to get things done with more alacrity.
In a way, it's hard to argue with the statement Tuesday by Republican leader Sen. Dean Skelos after the final portion of the budget was passed, 32-28, without a single Republican vote.
"Today, Senate Democrats finished voting on a budget that raises taxes by nearly $4 billion," Skelos said. "Today's action also completes one of the latest budgets in state history. What did taxpayers get as a result? They got higher spending and more taxes, but not a single initiative to create any new jobs or improve New York's economy."
Of course, the Republicans _ reflecting the tactics of their party colleagues in Congress _ are anything but blameless. Even in the minority, they have a responsibility to help govern rather than to just say no to everything and then second-guess legislation passed by the Democrats.
Gov. David Paterson, for his part, seemed relieved to finally get the budget out of the way as he prepares to leave office at the first of the year.
"Today the state finalized a budget that closes a $9.2 billion budget gap," said Morgan Hook, Paterson's communications director. "This was done primarily through spending cuts and with no borrowing."
Hook, however, may be a bit too optimistic.
"A fiscally responsible budget," he said, "will help our state turn the corner on this economic crisis and put us on a path to recovery."
That, of course, is yet to be seen.
From a local standpoint, we are disappointed that a bill that would have given the State University system more control over how much it charges for tuition didn't even get to a vote.
The SUNY colleges in Oneonta, Delhi and Cobleskill and their students would have benefited from passage of the bill.
We hope it passes next year ... and not 125 days late.
Better late than never?
Thanks to all who helped on campaign
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of the people in this town who made my election to the town board possible.
Safety Track ad was misleading
I recently read the full-page statement that Greg Lubinitsky had in The Daily Star concerning New York Safety Track, but I noticed numerous disputable issues.
'Shop local' isn't just another catchphrase
Like the relentless drone of the Salvation Army bell-ringer or the unending round of Christmas carols, the exhortation to "shop local" risks becoming yet another part of the holidays we tune out.
In Our Opinion: Keep Pearl Harbor memories alive
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
Answers still needed from Benghazi
Regarding the cartoon titled "Since Republicans say they want questions asked about the Libyan embassy incident":
Safety Track was misrepresented to town
In his Nov. 16 open letter in The Daily Star, Greg Lubinitsky would have you believe that he has come to our community as a savior, to lift us from our poverty while offering life skills to downtrodden youth.
- Friday, December 6, 2013
Safety Track should pay taxes, fines
Apparently Mountain Top Airfield, the parent company of New York Safety Track, finds it easier to pay for a full page ad than to pay for its school and property taxes. Mountain Top Airfield, which owns the land on which New York Safety Track runs, has brought legal action against the town of Harpersfield and the Charlotte Valley School District to cut its assessment taxes in half.
Dems, not GOP, caused the shutdown
- Thursday, December 5, 2013
Hill could use some down-home discipline
"Growing up on a dairy farm, you certainly learn discipline and a commitment to purpose."
Why not allow crossbow hunting?|
This year, we have had a big stir with the unconstitutional SAFE Act issues and I believe that is why the crossbow hunting legislation has been put off. I am an archer and hunter and I would like to see the crossbow allowed during rifle and or muzzleloader season.
Solar, wind powerare a joke|
Those times I've expressed my thoughts on environmentalism, I never addressed those facets of solar and wind power.
- Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Rainy-day funds in danger of drying up
Municipalities, organizations, businesses and families have a lot in common in that they all feel a lot more comfortable if they have put something away for a rainy day.
Pinkey right on guns, wrong on bullying
Regarding Mr. Pinkey 's Nov. 19 column:
- Tuesday, December 3, 2013
In Our Opinion: Cheers
To Dave Kelly, Thanksgiving meal volunteers and recently honored SUNY Oneonta police officials.
Experience at track was a pleasant one
I would like to share my experience with NYST after spending a day participating in one of their track days. First off, to debunk some of the misinformation being circulated about the facility.
Farm bill is important to us all in the U.S.
The government of today is ineffective, and to put it mildly, is the cause of most problems in the United States. One effect from this ineffectiveness, the continued delay in passing the farm bill.
- Monday, December 2, 2013
Notification is vital for parole hearings
There are prisons for all kinds of purposes. Regrettably, some are used to interrogate or isolate political foes. Most are used to punish lawbreakers. But the primary reason why society requires prisons is to protect people from those who would do them harm.
Don't let local politics mimic national
I thank the residents of Hartwick, Milford, and New Lisbon for electing me to represent them on the Board of Representatives. I am honored and humbled. I especially thank those who actively supported my campaign.
Old movie brings treasured scene
Much ado these days, in print and on TV, about the Gettysburg Address -- and quite rightly so. I am reminded of an old movie, "Ruggles of Red Gap" -- it's a pleasant, charming comedy, but I treasure it for one scene in which Charles Laughton recites the Gettysburg Address. Wonderful!
'Gun" should not be a prohibited word
If I had not seen it myself in Chuck Pinkey's column, I would not believe it. He reported that on two separate occasions, Jim Losie, of Losie's Gun Shop in Oneonta, attempted to buy ads in local school publications, to SUPPORT the school's activities.
- Thanks to all who helped on campaign