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Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Overthinking Staggered Terms

To the editor:
I'm glad county legislators are considering staggered terms, but judging from the press coverage of deliberations, it appears they may be over-thinking it.
It's true that different solutions exist, each with drawbacks and advantages. Over-stressing the drawback of any one approach, however, distracts from what I understand to be the primary objective - reducing the current risk of replacing all nine legislators in a given election. Significant reduction in potential turn-over, therefore, should be the primary focus.
Whether a particular party remains a majority, or whether an election could influence a decision by anyone facing it - of course it ‘could', even under the present arrangement - is politics, not the priority.
Understanding how legislative leadership - Chairman and Vice Chair - will fold into any new approach is also important for this voter to clearly understand in any proposal I'm asked to vote on.

Dave Colavito
Rock Hill

Child Poverty Ken Cohen

To the editor:
Thanks Ken Cohen for pointing out my small 1 word err, using ‘and' instead of ‘or' though you added an ‘or' on each item, not so as listed under the NYS Office of Children & Family Services or Cuomo's websites as they state, as I listed and not listed in the enacted budget as I researched:
Any school districts interested in applying must:
1) Be located in municipalities designated under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative;
2) Be located in a county that had a child poverty rate of over 30 percent in 2015;
3) Have a district child poverty rate of over 30 percent in 2015; or
4) Had between 5,000 and 20,000 students living in poverty within the school district in 2015.
Requirements are #'s 1, 2 and 3 OR #'s 1, 2 and 4 in 2015! Ken, it's Not 1 or 2 or 3 or 4!
I used the November 17 article which stated 22,000 children are poverty stricken in NYS under these standards, sadly Monticello & Fallsburg fit 3 requirements. Too bad for that 30% start! Sad that we have child poverty isn't it, not that you mention it, only my incorrect word.
Cuomo laughing, Superintendent & Directors excited and the (why) NO-Name list of virtually every elected official being there giving a good feeling and etc. you left out.
How can anyone be happy with, your count of 1300 or the 22,000 children that they will help when NYS has Children Poverty at (21.2%) = 902,006 children! Research! Helping 22,000 out of 902,000 is a sin as very few are getting after school programs or help!
Instead of playing video games? My children were busy doing homework that left little time for other activities before dinner, baths and bed. Cuomo, another feel-good photo-opt that's criminal!

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

Fire and fury towards ‘Fire and Fury'

To the editor:
Regarding George Ernsberger's About Books column on January 12… He reviewed the book “Fire and Fury” by known hack author Michael Wolff.
Ernsberger delights in Wolff's character assassination of the President and those close to him. However, the book has been proven to be a sham, full of inaccuracies and out and out lies about what was done, what was said, etc. Even CNN and MSNBC, which I would guess are the news sources Ernsberger chooses to get his information from, have come out against the “alternative facts” contained in the book.
Just Google Michael Woolf and you'll see he has a history of writing books that have little if any truth in them, that fact checkers confirm the made up content of his books.
It's a work of fiction, but people like Ernsberger are going to believe every word and then help spread the lies. The hatred is so strong, it's truly sad.
If you are going to be a book reviewer and include any books on politics, please leave your personal politics out of your reviews.

Denise Connolly

Senator Bonacic's view

To the editor:
With the recent changes to federal tax laws, there has been a renewed focus on the impact of high property taxes in New York. We need to address this issue in three ways: making the tax cap permanent; reconsidering how we fund education and provide mandate relief; and tackling out-of-control tax exemptions and abuses.
The Senate has again passed legislation to make the tax cap permanent, which has to date saved taxpayers $23 billion statewide. This bill passed overwhelmingly in 2015, 2016, and 2017 but has not been brought for a vote on the floor of the Assembly.
However, simply capping the rate of growth of property taxes is not enough - we must reduce the main driver of our high property taxes - school taxes. That is why I have reintroduced legislation to allow school districts, at voter option, to phase out school property taxes on primary residences over five years and replace the lost revenue with increased state aid. This legislation has also previously passed the Senate and died in the Assembly.
Finally, we need to address the issue of out-of-control property tax exemptions. Based on year 2013 assessment rolls, $826 billion in property value, nearly one-third of the value of all the property in New York, is exempt from taxation. In order to reform these property tax exemptions, I have long fought for a package of bills to reign in the abuses in the system.
I look forward to working this session to bring real relief to the taxpayers of New York.

Senator John J. Bonacic

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