Month: October 2020


What New York really needs is meaningful (and real) mandate relief for local governments


first_imgCategories: Opinion, Schenectady CountyThe governor recently announced that he would not sign a budget agreement without the tax cap being made permanent. Which is fine since the tax cap is nothing more than a public relations tool used to try to trick the residents into thinking that state politicians are actually doing something to address the high property taxes in New York.Spoiler alert: They’re not.Despite his theatrics, it’s interesting to watch the powerful Andrew Cuomo blame everyone else for the high taxes in this state except himself. He tries to get you to believe that it’s the federal government’s fault, or the local government’s fault, or the counties’ fault; even the weather’s fault, but certainly not his fault. We live in a one-party, top-down, command and control, Democrat-led state government and he is trying to get you to believe that he’s unable to fix any of the financial problems plaguing the state.The fact is that the state’s tax cap does nothing to address the underlying issue that is driving up the cost of government: state mandates. It’s expensive to do business in New York and that’s true for the private sector as much as it is for the local governments across the state. There are many reasons for this, but the most impactful are the many mandates that the state pushes down to local government.I’ll address the latest one to come out of Albany, voter reform.New York lawmakers passed a package of voter reforms recently which includes a provision that would require polls to be open a full 10 days prior to the actual Election Day. While any reform that increases voter access to the polls is good – as long as the state places the proper protections against fraud – this reform would place a financial burden on local governments. In this state, counties are responsible for registering voters and actually holding elections, but that doesn’t mean the county pays for it. In counties like Schenectady, the costs of all elections are pushed down to the town level as a “budgetary pass through.” This means the county racks up the bill and the local property taxpayer pays it. Now with this early voting reform, the governor and Legislature are piling on the costs that will eventually hit all taxpayers.Elections weren’t always so expensive to run. The truth is that there was a time when towns ran elections and were responsible for the spending. In 2005, for example, when the towns ran elections in this county, the total annual cost for the town of Glenville was just $42,000. Then, the county took over running the Board of Elections and promised lower costs that would be realized due to savings from “consolidation.” Who could argue against the efficiencies of consolidation, right? Well, fast forward to 2019 when the county charged the town almost $400,000 for elections. That’s a 10-fold increase in costs in the 14 years since the county took over running the Board of Elections.Now, we will have to add the costs of the unfunded mandate called voter reform that the state just dumped on us. Exactly what that cost may be has not been articulated or even considered by lawmakers in Albany and few are really sure how much this will end up costing. We know that increased costs of manpower to staff polling places and other operational costs will likely push an additional $500,000 or so onto the local governments. That means that early voting will likely cost the taxpayer an additional 2% in new property taxes. All this “reform” has led to one thing: The taxpayer paying more in property taxes thanks to the endless unfunded mandates that the state pushes on local governments that cause higher property tax bills. If state lawmakers want to increase access to the polls, they should pay for it. Otherwise it’s just another unfunded mandate.Placing a tax cap on local governments without simultaneously enacting meaningful mandate relief is morally wrong and will eventually bankrupt our communities…but, sure, maybe it is just the weather driving everyone out after all. Chris Koetzle is the supervisor of the town of Glenville and the acting chairman of the Schenectady County Republican Party.More from The Daily Gazette:Capital Region COVID-19 Tracker for Friday, Oct. 16, by countyEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesSchenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…Schenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positionsSchenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentslast_img read more


One for the road


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Man about Midtown


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Shopping focus for ‘eye of London’ site


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Railtrack to roll out Spacia plan


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Raymond secures another slice of the West End


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British Land shares drop 11% after Liberty buy


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Liverpool pushes for star names


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PREMIUM Trade pact expected to boost Indonesia-Australia ties


first_imgIndonesia-Australia IA-CEPA diplomacy Jokowi Scott-Morrison trade-deal bilateral-relations Indonesia is hoping its 70-year-old ties with Australia will only grow stronger after ratifying a trade deal that will bring the two major Asia-Pacific economies closer.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo arrived in Canberra on Saturday evening for his fourth state visit to Indonesia’s southern neighbor, where he is scheduled to address the Australian parliament, meet high-ranking Australian government officials and attend the Indonesia-Australia business roundtable.Jokowi is slated to meet his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, for an annual leaders’ meeting on Monday, where the two leaders are expected to discuss the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and launch a 2020-2024 plan of action that will serve as a guideline for the trade deal.“We want openness so that we can have more trade, investment, tourism … Forgot Password ? Google Facebook Log in with your social account LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Linkedinlast_img read more


Jakarta trains will operate as usual despite COVID-19 concerns: PT KAI


first_img“We provide hand sanitizer in our stations and on our trains, and we have also deployed personnel to check passengers’ temperatures at the stations. Those who have a temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius will not be allowed to board the trains, and their tickets will be fully refunded in cash,” she said.The company, she said, would also disinfect the interiors and exteriors of all its trains.”In Daop 1 Jakarta, we wash the trains for long distance trips in Pasar Senen station and Tanah Abang station. Local trains are cleaned in Sukabumi, Cikampek, Tanjung Priok, Merak and Rangkasbitung stations,” Eva said.She explained that during the cleaning process, officials would sweep and dust the floors and ceilings of the train before spraying them with disinfectant. They would also clean the toilet and wash the train’s exterior with water and soap.”We also make sure all the pillows and pillowcases on the trains are washed and cleaned thoroughly after each trip,” she said.As of the time of writing, Indonesia has reported 134 cases of COVID-19, resulting in five deaths. Cases are spread throughout the country, including in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, West Java, Central Java, Banten, Bali, North Sulawesi and West Kalimantan. Topics : State-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) has said that trains in Jakarta will continue according to schedule despite the government’s call for the public to implement “social distancing” to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.”In Operational Region [Daop] 1 Jakarta, all long-distance trains from Gambir and Pasar Senen stations will depart on schedule,” KAI Daop 1 Jakarta spokesperson Eva Chairunisa said in a written statement on Monday. “This also applies to local trains like KA Jatiluhur, KA Walahar, KA Lokal Merak, KA Pangrango, KA Siliwangi. All trains will operate as usual.”She said that while PT KAI would not reduce its services, it would still carry out measures to try and prevent coronavirus infection on the trains.last_img read more