Guest column: Schenectady County using taxpayer money wisely

first_imgIt’s easier to believe a lie than to understand a complicated truth, but the sales tax agreement between Schenectady County and the city of Schenectady guarantees Glenville $1,791,594.42 (2016 Apportioned) plus another $850,182.67 (2016 Tax Abatement) or about 41 percent of Glenville’s total tax levy.This means that property taxes in the Glenville would be 41 percent higher without Schenectady County’s intervention and willingness to partner with local governments to keep property taxes down.Mr. Koetzle’s comparison of Schenectady County to only Saratoga is like comparing apples to avocados.The facts show us that of the 57 counties outside of New York City, the average percentage that is shared is 26.02 percent.The median shared is 27.5 percent. Schenectady is above both the median and average, sharing 33.73 percent with others.A 2015 report by the state comptroller indicates 31 shared less than Schenectady — while 11 shared no sales tax revenue at all.Saratoga County, with four times the land, greater property values and higher household incomes but with far less mandated costs, fares better than most upstate counties and is unique in terms of service demands. Schenectady County looks more like the other upstate counties with cities.In his article, Mr. Koetzle said his costs are “unsustainable,” meaning he can’t balance his budget without increasing taxes.He blames the tax cap for his woes claiming he needs new sources of revenue since he can’t raise property taxes beyond the cap without subjecting himself and his board to the wrath of angry taxpayers.If only the same were true of his ever-increasing salary — four raises in four years, with another raise proposed in his budget this year!The tax cap was enacted to put local governments on a diet, not to send supervisors scurrying around trying to usurp additional sources of tax revenue so they can keep spending while appearing to stay under the cap.One should ask residents of Scotia why they now unfairly pay more in town taxes for town services than town residents outside the village.The new reality in governing today is doing more with less. Schenectady County has taken the lead and is saving taxpayers money by sharing services and enacting cost-saving reforms that benefit all of our taxpayers — including those in Glenville.From paving roads in Princetown to purchasing prescription drugs in Canada, new solar energy projects and a consolidated economic development generator, these successes have been instrumental in keeping your county taxes in check – averaging well below the cap with a 0 percent increase in 2017 and a 1 percent decrease for 2018.This is exactly what the governor and Legislature envisioned.Mr. Koetzle urges voters to find out how candidates stand on his “bailout plan.”The question to ask should be why would any responsible candidate support a “bailout plan” that reduces town taxes by raising county taxes.We would all like our costs paid for by higher levels of government, but that’s not realistic.The Koetzle Plan doesn’t make sense because at the end of the day, it all comes out of the same pocket – yours! Categories: Editorial, OpinionGlenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle’s appeal for a sales tax bailout from Schenectady County is more of the same outdated tax-and-spend politics that has burdened his town’s taxpayers for years. If you believe good government is good politics, then the time for gimmicks, finger-pointing and politics-as-usual has passed.When governments work together — we all win with lower taxes and better services.Schenectady County has been and will continue to be a willing partner to our local municipalities.Wimpy says in those old Popeye cartoons, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”As a taxpayer myself, I’ll take the tax cut today versus the “bailout plan” that may cut my taxes next Tuesday any day of the week.Anthony Jasenski is chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature. He represents District 4, which includes Duanesburg, Princetown and Rotterdam.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Charter change could have negative effects

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion On Nov. 7, residents of Saratoga Springs will vote on a proposed new charter, replacing the century-old mayor-commissioner system with an unelected city manager to run the city.Since 2001, a number of attempts to change the commission form of government have been rejected decisively by the voters. By now, most of the arguments pro and con have become familiar and even hackneyed.The commission form of government has its flaws, to be sure. It can be creaky and cumbersome.The members of the charter review committee are well-intentioned and thoughtful. But they are looking at the proposed new charter through rose-colored glasses. A city manager will not solve all the city’s problems, and it will bring new and unnecessary risks to city government as well.Several excellent ideas from the committee — a much-needed salary increase for the mayor, an annual external audit—could easily be implemented by the current council without requiring a city manager.Eleven members of the charter review committee have voted to propose a change in the charter. But now, the decision is in the hands of the city’s nearly 18,000 voters, as it should be.Think carefully about what we are as a city and what we want to become. Maybe instead of the promised utopia, a charter change will make us a lot more like other, less desirable, places to live.Kenneth KlotzSaratoga Springscenter_img More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Rescuers needed for dogs on death row

first_imgThe ones that she’s able to save depend on the number of foster homes she has, and right now CDHA is in desperate need of kind, compassionate and able people to fill the void.Are you a kind, compassionate, tolerant dog lover who could help them?So many of us have so much to be grateful for, and this is one way to give back for all that we have been blessed with.If you can help, you can go to CDHA.com or contact Jennifer Politis at 518-664-3450 or 518-369-4482.Martha WinstenGansevoortMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThere are so many little dogs on death row at this moment. The head of the Capital District Humane Association (CDHA), Jennifer Politis receives pictures of these desperate little dogs, who just have a day or so left unless Jennifer is able to let the shelter holding them know that she will be able to rescue them from certain death.last_img read more

Comment

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Chartwell portfolio close to £700m sale

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These problems are ‘men-made’: Sri Mulyani blames men for creating global uncertainties

first_imgShe went on to say that the “men-made” events caused last year’s world economic growth and trade to reach their lowest point since the global financial crisis in 2008.The World Bank projected the global economy to grow by only 2.9 percent in 2019 as global trade and manufacturing activities slowed down last year as a result of trade tensions and financial pressure in advanced countries.In the meantime, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced last October that it forecast global trade to rise by only 1.2 percent in 2019.“Men created these problems, so men have to fix them,” Sri Mulyani said, followed by applause and cheers from the audience.Despite the situation, she said the government was still optimistic that Indonesia could still maintain robust economic growth while also remaining vigilant about the challenges that lay ahead.She also said that the government would continue to work on its policy choices and utilize to the utmost the available instruments to maintain growth.“We will also conduct structural reform to make sure the good conditions will be sustained and improve in the future,” she said.Topics : Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has laid the blame for the recent and ongoing global uncertainties squarely on men – and she demanded they take the responsibility for fixing them.In a speech at the Mandiri Investment Forum in Jakarta on Wednesday, she said that the uncertain global conditions in 2019—caused by the United States-China trade war, Brexit and protests in many parts of the world—were likely to persist in 2020.“These uncertainties are actually man-made and I’d really like to underline the word ‘man’ here because almost all of them are caused by men,” Sri Mulyani said, citing the protests in Hong Kong as an exception, as the autonomous state is led by chairwoman Carrie Lam.last_img read more

China’s Xi discusses coronavirus with Trump: State media

first_imgChinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Friday with US President Donald Trump on the novel coronavirus outbreak and urged Washington to respond “reasonably” to the epidemic, state media reported.Xi told Trump on the phone that China was “fully confident and capable of defeating the epidemic”, and that “the long-term trend of China’s economic development for the better will not change”, according to state broadcaster CCTV.The viral outbreak, which is believed to have originated in central China late last year, has now infected at least 31,000 people and caused 636 deaths, mostly within China. Local governments across China have locked down cities of tens of millions of people in response to the crisis, while global panic has risen over the more than 240 cases that have emerged in two dozen countries.Xi’s comments come hours after the death of a whistleblower doctor, punished for sharing information about the virus, prompted an immense outpouring of public grief and anger over how Chinese authorities have handled the crisis.Xi called the fight to contain the virus a “people’s war” and told Trump that China has implemented “nationwide mobilisation, comprehensive deployment and rapid response” along with “the strictest prevention and control measures” against the virus.Xi also urged the US to act “reasonably” in response to the outbreak, the official Xinhua news agency said.Beijing has hit out against strict measures by other countries to contain the spread of the virus, calling travel bans against Chinese arrivals by a growing list of nations “unkind” and going against the advice of the World Health Organization.The US has temporarily barred entry to foreigners who have been in China within the past two weeks, joining countries including Italy, Singapore and Mongolia who have announced expansive restrictions on travellers from the virus-hit country.The United States, Japan, Britain, Germany and other nations have also advised their citizens not to travel to China.Topics :last_img read more

Sanders blasts Russia for reportedly trying to boost his presidential campaign

first_imgTopics : The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said US officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and US lawmakers.It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative. Sanders said he was briefed about a month ago. His campaign noted the briefing was classified.”We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” Sanders told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.””What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing – and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff – is they try to divide us up,” he said. “They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America.”Moscow denies The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the US presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances, following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.”These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the [US] election,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “They have nothing to do with the truth.”US intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, as it did in 2016, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters on Thursday.Since that briefing, Trump has ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former US officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.A senior administration official said the nation was better positioned than in 2016 to defend against foreign attempts to influence elections.”President Trump has made clear that any efforts or attempts by Russia, or any other nation, to influence or interfere with our elections, or undermine US democracy will not be tolerated,” the official said.Some of Sanders’ rivals for the Democratic nomination said they had neither received similar briefings nor word that Russia was working to boost their campaigns.Former Vice President Joe Biden told CNN on Friday: “I know Russia doesn’t want me to win. It’s really clear that Putin doesn’t want me to be the nominee, and Donald Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee.”US Senator Elizabeth Warren, while campaigning in Las Vegas, said there should be “as much transparency as possible” to block Russia from having “too much influence” in US elections.”This is about disinformation and the way to fight disinformation is to call it out, show what it is and give everyone full information as quickly as possible,” Warren told reporters.Russian Accounts Facebook declined to comment on whether it has seen any evidence of Russian assistance to Sanders’ campaign. In October, the company took down Russian-backed accounts that pretended to be from political battleground states.Some of those accounts used Instagram to praise Sanders. Another used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and faulted Biden on race issues.Jessica Brandt of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an organization that monitors foreign interference in US politics, said Russian state media and official social media accounts have been working to help Sanders by amplifying conspiracy theories that his Democratic rivals, the Democratic National Committee and the “corporate media” have been “rigging the system” against him.”We can say with certainty that this is what the Russian government is pushing,” she told Reuters. “We’ve seen for some time Russian official channels promoting division within the Democratic Party.”Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which works with Facebook to analyze state-backed information operations, said “Russian influence operations are equal opportunity hyperpartisan, with the overarching goal to drive Americans further away from each other.”US officials have long warned that Russia and other countries would seek to interfere in the Nov. 3 presidential election, following Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign that ended with Trump’s surprise victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.US intelligence agencies concluded that the Kremlin used disinformation operations, cyber attacks and other methods in its 2016 operation in an effort to boost Trump, an allegation that Russia denies. Trump, sensitive to doubts over the legitimacy of his win, has also questioned that finding and repeatedly criticized American intelligence agencies.Russia’s alleged interference sparked a two-year-long US investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.Mueller found no conclusive evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He also pointed at 10 instances in which Trump may have attempted to obstruct his investigation, as Democrats alleged, but left any finding of obstruction to Congress. center_img Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned Russia on Friday to stay out of 2020 White House elections after US officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign.”The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist US senator from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.last_img read more

Israeli warplanes hit Gaza, Syria after Palestinian rocket barrage

first_imgIsraeli aircraft hit what the military said were Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip and Syria late Sunday, after the Palestinian militant group fired a barrage of rockets at Israel.In a new flareup a week ahead of fresh general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on “Islamic Jihad terror sites” throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital Damascus, a military statement said.There were no immediate reports of fatalities in either Gaza, which lies to the west of Israel, or Syria, which is to the country’s north. Islamic Jihad, which along with allied group Hamas has fought three wars with Israel in Gaza since 2008, operates in both territories.The Israeli military said it had struck “dozens” of Islamic Jihad targets throughout Gaza.A military aircraft also fired at “Islamic Jihad terror operatives preparing to launch rockets,” from the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.”A hit was identified,” it added, with health officials in Gaza saying four people were wounded in the strikes. In Syria, the Israeli army said it had struck Islamic Jihad targets outside the capital Damascus, including a base “used as a hub” for the group’s activities in the country.An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several strong explosions shortly before midnight (2200 GMT).The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks were “near the Damascus international airport”.The Syrian state news agency Sana said “most of the enemy missiles were shot down before reaching their targets,” stressing that “no airport” was struck.Bulldozed Earlier Sunday, more than 20 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza towards Israel, setting off warning sirens in the southern city of Ashkelon and several other locations, the army said.More than a dozen were intercepted by the Jewish state’s Iron Dome missile defence system, the Israeli army said.There were no reports of serious injuries.Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets, calling them a response to the killing of one its fighters along the Gaza border early Sunday.Israel said the man had been part of a cell seeking to plant an explosive device on the border fence.Islamic Jihad identified the dead man as Mohammed al-Naem, 27, a member of its armed wing.A video later emerged on social media showing a bulldozer approaching a body while a group of young, apparently unarmed men, were trying to retrieve it. The sound of gunfire is heard and the men ultimately run away as the bulldozer scoops up the body.A tank can be seen positioned nearby.Israel’s hawkish Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has pursued a policy of retaining the bodies of militants from Gaza as bargaining chips to pressure Hamas, which has held the bodies of two Israeli soldiers since 2014.Hamas is also believed to be detaining two Israeli citizens who entered Gaza separately and whose families say suffer from mental illness.Israel has a general election on March 2, its third in less than a year after deadlocked polls in April and September 2019.Embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing trial over a series of corruption allegations, is again neck and neck with centrist challenger Benny Gantz, a former military general.Hamas and Israel last fought a full-scale war in 2014 but smaller flareups are relatively common.In November, Islamic Jihad and Israel fought a three-day conflict that left 35 Palestinians dead and more than 100 wounded, according to official figures.There were no Israeli fatalities.Under the informal agreements in the past year, Israel has slightly eased a blockade of the impoverished Palestinian enclave in exchange for relative calm.Topics :last_img read more

Oil price slump a double-edged sword for Indonesia, Sri Mulyani says

first_img“The positive side is the price of energy will be relatively cheap,” Sri Mulyani told reporters in Jakarta. “However, this could lead to bigger uncertainty in the capital market.”Read also: Oil plunges about 30% after Saudi Arabia slashes prices, opens tapsGlobal share markets tumbled on Monday as panicked investors fled to bonds to hedge the economic shock of the coronavirus and the oil price slump.Sri Mulyani added that the government would continue to monitor the low oil price situation and its potential impact on the state budget. “For the state budget, in revenue from oil, as I said, we are facing low prices, and volume is also down because exports and production are declining, as well as the currency rate,” she pointed out. “We will assess its impact on this year’s state budget as well as the assessment for 2021.”Read also: Indonesia’s 2019 budget deficit widens to 2.2 percent amid tax revenue short fallSaudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is attempting to punish Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, for balking on Friday at production cuts proposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).OPEC and other producers supported the cuts to stabilize falling prices caused by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.Saudi Arabia plans to boost crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current supply deal between OPEC and Russia – known as OPEC+ – expires at the end of March, according to Reuters.Topics : Low oil prices may be a double-edged sword for Indonesia after Saudi Arabia started a price war with Russia by slashing its selling prices and pledging to boost supply amid falling demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday that the current price war amid the weakening economy due to the outbreak may benefit Indonesia’s imports as a result of lower oil prices. Brent crude futures fell by the most since 1991 on Monday, by US$14.25 or 31.5 percent to $31.02 per barrel.The current circumstance may ease state-owned oil producer Pertamina’s oil import burden, she added.last_img read more