Low taxes for wealthy hasn't worked so far
A Dec. 15 letter writer concludes his lashing of tax-and-spend liberals by disclosing that he is a retired autoworker who will take care of himself. I can't help but wonder how he would have fared had federal funds not rescued the company writing his pension checks. Would he have been OK due to the federal program (PBGC) that backs up his pension? Or perhaps his pension is fully funded by his union. Did the hands-off approach of governance serve the fund well leading up to the crash of 2008? And what money pulled those genius investors (and their arguably criminally handled investments) out of the jaws of certain failure? My guess is that some "government intrusion" may be given a pass by the writer when his back is against the wall.
But then he could be one of the fortunate (or he might say, smart) ones, who was able to live comfortably and also build an adequate nest egg, thanks to sufficient income from his auto job. I wonder what he thinks about the conservatives (and many Democrats) who have continued to take down barriers to shipping those very jobs out of this country.
Apparently he is more concerned with keeping taxes low for those who ran his industry into a ditch with monumental mismanagement. Maybe these people are going to make this country great again, and we should let them keep all of their money so they can continue unfettered in their hallowed role as the job creators. But you have to wonder.
Gregory W. Johnson
Town of Tonawanda
All of us in New York are being taxed to death
The Dec. 7 News article regarding the Albany deal keeping taxes high on the rich and lowering others' rates states: "The deal means a couple with taxable income of $80,000, for example, would see a 2012 state tax bill of $5,160 -- or a saving of $320." That means that over the next 10 years, if everything remains the same, that couple would pay $51,600 in New York State income tax.
If the couple lived in Washington, New Hampshire, Texas, Wyoming, Nevada, Florida, South Dakota, Tennessee or Alaska, how much would they pay in state income tax? Well, the answer is zero because those states have no state income tax. I know, I know, those states have terrible schools, roads and bridges in need of repair, substandard housing and crime. Hey, wait a minute, I just described the City of Buffalo.
Do your own research. The only objective conclusion one can arrive at is that New York State is truly the land of taxes.
Funding is great for UB, but what about others?
Regarding "Cuomo signs grant for UB Medical School," congrats, Buffalo! But, what about Plattsburgh, Cortland, Oswego, Oneonta, Potsdam and Fredonia, not to mention the entire CUNY system?
While I applaud the governor on his initiative to organize the state into economic regions in an effort to stimulate economic development, I am concerned that we are neglecting other communities and institutions in need of investment. The project to move the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is funded through the Challenge Grant Program included in SUNY 2020. Cuomo has authorized $35 million for UB and a total of $140 million in challenge grants for the four SUNY research centers.
In the last 15 years, higher education in New York State has lost $1.4 billion. Where is this money coming from to fund these capital projects? Furthermore, political leaders claim the plan they passed includes an affordable tuition plan. However, SUNY 2020 calls for an annual 8 percent tuition hike over the next five years for students who attend the four SUNY research centers -- different from a typical SUNY or CUNY where tuition is raised 5 percent.
The state made a commitment long ago to adequately fund public higher education in an effort to create socially equitable opportunities for all students. Massive investment into a select group of institutions, coupled with devastating, long-term tuition hikes, reinforces the growing concern of creating inequitable access to affordable higher education.
I strongly urge the governor to include all of SUNY and all of CUNY in accessing the creative funds to drive regional economic recovery in their respective areas.
NYPIRG Project Coordinator
Buffalo mayor is expert at spin and deflection
You have to give it to Mayor Byron Brown -- he may not have a clue about good government, but he sure has mastered what he is good at: spin and deflection! In the latest city travesty, two city employees were arrested for stealing thousands of dollars from parking meters over several years, but it was just discovered in February.
What gets me is that the mayor claims that as soon as he and his parking commissioner suspected something, they called in the FBI. And now that the two men have been arrested, the mayor is taking credit for what he proclaims is his administration's swift actions.
However, when it came to Tim Wanamaker admitting to stealing tens of thousands of dollars in federal funds, the mayor said that he first became aware of it "several years ago." Yet Wanamaker stayed on his City Hall job for a few more years, nobody alerted the FBI and, in fact, Wanamaker left voluntarily to take another job elsewhere. Who's minding the store? It isn't the mayor.
Postal Service can't be compared to FedEx, UPS
In the continuing discussions about the Postal Service, people often compare the post office to the private delivery services. They ask: "Why can't the post office be more like FedEx or UPS?" I suggest those people try a simple experiment. Walk into any FedEx or UPS office and ask them to deliver a document in two or three days across the country. Then offer them 44 cents to do it. I can imagine the reaction. They will laugh in your face. Then they'll probably call a security guard to escort you out of the building. "Security! We have a troublemaker here!"
We need to remember that the goal of the Postal Service is not to make a profit; it is to provide an important service to the citizens of this country. It does this quite well, and at a surprisingly low cost.
Stop the name-calling and get the job done
I am sick and tired of politicians comparing their opponents to Hitler or Stalin, or calling them communists or Nazis. None of it is true; they are Americans who just happen to have a different opinion. When will our politicians grow up and do what they got elected to do, and get paid to do?