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?
In Our Opinion: Cheers
To Leadership Otsego, the 'Eyes Forward' pledge, and the drug drop-off box in Oneonta.
In your opinion: Statements brought character into question
My integrity is very important to me, and the article about the dog warden issue in Butternuts on Feb. 28 made statements that bring my good character into question. Clarification of some overlooked facts may help:
In Your Opinion: Facebook's downside is very real
Of course Facebook can be put to good use, as cited by Tania Benkovitz in a recent letter.
In Our Opinion: Senate betrayed military victims of rape
An estimated 26,000 members of the United States military --mostly women -- are sexually assaulted each year.
In Your Opinion: Animal cruelty officer must be professional
I fully support the hiring of a well-trained animal cruelty investigator by Otsego County officials. I stress the importance of "well-trained."
In Your Opinion: Column ignored aspect of U.S.-Cuba relations
I was very surprised that Cary Brunswick's essay "It's time for warmer relations with Cuba," did not mention the real reason why U.S. relations with Cuba are not warmer. It relates to the electoral votes of the state of Florida and the very large number of Cubans and their descendants in Florida. No presidential candidate wants to alienate this vote.
- Saturday, March 8, 2014
In Our Opinion: Time change a welcome sign of spring
In upstate New York, harbingers of spring are few and far between, so we have to take what we can get.
In Your Opinion: Administration filled with liars
Obama was right when he said we needed fundamental changes, but he didn't say to what. It appears that most of his present agenda is taken right out of the Communist Manifesto. Look it up on the Internet or a good encyclopedia if you have the ability to read and understand what you have read.
In your opinion: Campaign finance needs reforming
New York state's current campaign finance system is broken -- it erodes public trust and negatively impacts democratic engagement and election outcomes. Among its shortcomings: legislators must spend inordinate amounts of time raising money to finance their campaigns; wealthy individuals, corporations and organizations exert undue influence; and just as important -- good people who might seek office are put off by the overall sordidness of campaign funding.
- Friday, March 7, 2014
In Your Opinion: Let's all work to sustain 'positive energy'
One person said he was "blown away" by it. Another called it "extremely gratifying." A third said, "There was a real lot of positive energy."
In Your Opinion: Dog warden article had several errors
By failing to interview the subject of its story, The Daily Star published several errors in its recent article, "Butternuts hires new dog warden after conflict claim."
- Thursday, March 6, 2014
In Our Opinion: It's time to trim U.S. military budget
Given the current unpleasantness in the Ukraine, it might seem counterintuitive for the United States to consider cutting back on its military spending.
In your opinion: Nature not really a mystery
As I read the column, "Animals' Behavior A Sign of Wild Winter" (The Daily Star, Feb. 28, 2014), some facts immediately jumped into mind from my doctoral dissertation -- "A Natural History of the Catskill Mountain High Peaks" -- the flock of robins on the author's lawn on Feb. 2 are not a mystery: Many robins winter over in roosts, as many as a quarter of a million birds in one roost can be found in trees or in brush closer to the ground.
- Wednesday, March 5, 2014
In Our Opinion: Time Warner Cable hike is outrageous
Did you get a raise this year?
In Your Opinion: Education for inmates makes plenty of sense
For too long, Americans have held to the philosophy that tax money should be used only for the "deserving." Usually "deserving" looks white and middle/upper class. The knee-jerk reaction to Gov. Cuomo's inmate college plan, I believe, stems from this long-held and misguided view.
In Your Opinion: Low wages are costing us all
Since, the 1960s the number of women in the workforce has increased by more than 50 percent. However, by age of 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime, because of an earning gap with male employees, who do the same job.
- Tuesday, March 4, 2014
In Our Opinion: Cheers
To grant money to expand broadband in Otsego County, to Brewery Ommegang's Karaoke against Cancer, and to the One Billion Rising for Justice campaign.
In Your Opinion: Nothing wrong with Facebook when used right
Could you please explain to me why your readers were subjected to a self-serving, way, way too long front-page article, no less, about Facebook, written by a 24-year-old who had no life experiences other than she graduated college and has a job on your newspaper?
In your opinion: Facebook article was fascinating
Kudos to Ms. Reynolds. Her article "My love affair, and break-up, with Facebook" on the front page Feb. 24, was well-written, thoroughly researched and fascinating.
- Monday, March 3, 2014
In Our Opinion: Impaired driving with kids is an outrage
Despite the efforts of most newspapers to mix in as much "good news" as possible into their daily coverage, because of the sheer volume of crimes, wars, violent acts of nature and other human tragedies that constitute "bad news," readers (and editors) can tend to become almost inured to the suffering of others.
- In Our Opinion: Cheers