Nursing home tax is fully refundable

In a recent letter, it was noted that New York State charges a nursing home assessment on bills for long-term care. This can be a considerable expense, coming at a time when a family or spouse is traumatized by the conditions leading to skilled nursing care. Anyone who is paying for this expense out of pocket or through a long-term care policy should be aware that New York will fully refund the assessment at tax time. This is accomplished by filing form IT-258, Claim for Nursing Home Assessment Credit, along with the state personal income tax form.

In the case of the Oct. 8 letter writer, this could result in a refund of the entire $9,106.56 remitted throughout a 12-month period. This certainly does not address the inconvenience that the family must bear this expense as it arises. Apparently, the state depends upon the fact that payers may be unaware they are being taxed, or that they are entitled to the refund. Obviously, the tax is collected with the expectation that the credit may or may not be claimed. The writer echoed the sentiments of those affected by this tax that it is levied at a "heartbreaking" time, and its administration should be addressed.

Anyone in this situation should consult a knowledgeable tax adviser. Those who have recently paid this assessment without claiming the credit in the past three years may file an amended tax return for each year in which the assessment was paid. Details are also given on the website:, where a search for "nursing home assessment" will specify credit requirements.

John Scott



Pro-life advocates should be respected

As a former pro-choice escort, I was appalled and embarrassed by the actions of the individuals who pelted anti-abortion demonstrators with eggs and dog feces. I feel certain that my feelings about the choice issue are just as strong as these individuals' are. However, I have always been dedicated to the idea of non-violence as the avenue that will most likely result in change. It is just the right thing to do. These individuals' actions only serve to inflame the situation, instead of working toward solving the problem.

Wendy Cline-Tarbell



Occupy movement is worthy of our support

Good for the citizens who have chosen to Occupy Buffalo as part of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. This is not a movement with a single message. It is a group of Americans who are expressing their dissatisfaction with the current state of America and their elected representatives in a communal way.

I think it is inspiring. My inspiration is not drawn from the specific messages that they display, it is in the willingness of tens of thousands (and growing every day) of American citizens across the country who are willing to do whatever is necessary to be heard by a government that certainly seems to have lost its way when it comes to listening and responding to those of lesser means or without political connections. The signs and messages that many so offhandedly dismiss may not be important to those who dismiss them, however, they are important to the person holding it.

If by standing in Niagara Square or Centennial Park is the only way for that message to be heard, well good for them. Maybe it is a message that people don't understand because nobody has ever listened (the media) or has been willing to sit down and have the conversation (the elected representatives). The current movement certainly appears to be airing many concerns that people across the country share. Disagree with the message, fine. But to dismiss it because you don't understand it or because they are "unwashed hippies without jobs," as many have done, is unfair and ignorant.

Imagine trying to make a sales presentation, a closing argument or a contract proposal to people driving by at 30 miles per hour on a 4-by-6 piece of cardboard that can fit only six or so words? The hope is that those six or so words can begin a discussion. I believe that the statements and messages made by those who Occupy Wall Street across the country are worthy of people's attention. I will be in Niagara Square on Saturday to show my support.

Max Humann



Why can't Jacobs file his documents on time?

When choosing the next Erie County clerk, perhaps the basic skill or attribute required would be the ability to file papers in a timely manner. How else could the county clerk look at the myriads of people filing documents late and then assess late fees without being hypocritical?

It comes as a surprise that one of the candidates, Chris Jacobs, was unable to submit a recent financial filing for county clerk with the Board of Elections on time. Jacobs, as an elected member of the School Board, is no stranger to the Board of Election's time constraints and requirements. This makes the tardy filing all the more puzzling.

It is rather ironic that someone so certain of his qualifications for the job of county clerk can be given several months to meet a filing deadline and still miss the mark. But this isn't the first time Jacobs' actions needed reforming. On the School Board, he did support former School Superintendent James Williams, only to back-pedal on his support then finally vote to discharge him. Let it be the last time his actions need reforming.

Higher office, especially at the county level, requires someone more focused on the details inherent in the position of county clerk and someone with the ability to get decisions and paperwork right the first time.

Jennifer R. Dunning



Obama needs to take action against Iran

Once again, Iran has punked out President Obama. A plot was foiled that would have killed a Saudi Arabian ambassador on American soil. Obama said the U.S. military will not respond, so the best Iran would get is more useless, pathetic sanctions.

Iran has been sending explosive force penetrators that shoot molten copper into our most heavily armored tanks, killing and injuring dozens of U.S. soldiers with no U.S. retaliation. At least President Bill Clinton fired a few Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraq when it was discovered that Saddam Hussein planned to kill former President George H.W. Bush in Kuwait in 1993.

Iran has been at war with the United States since 1979, when Democrat Jimmy Carter threw the Shah of Iran to the dogs and the Iranian Revolution began. This was heralded by the liberal Democrats, but soon turned into the humiliation of our country when Iran took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days until they were released when Ronald Reagan became president.

What are we waiting for? Iran will soon build a nuclear bomb and once that threshold is crossed, we will be helpless in doing anything to Iran, which sponsors Muslim terrorism worldwide.

James Ziolkowski