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

Governor Wolf Urges Support for Shale Tax, State-Related Universities

first_img October 11, 2017 Governor Wolf Urges Support for Shale Tax, State-Related Universities Budget News,  Press Release,  Severance Tax Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf stood with lawmakers and local officials in Erie to urge the legislature to come back to Harrisburg to complete the budget process by passing a severance tax and funding the state-related universities.“I’m here to make clear that I am managing the budget, but the General Assembly still has work to do: fund our major state universities and pass a commonsense tax on shale,” said Governor Wolf. “The fairest and simplest solution to the current budget challenge is a severance tax on natural gas production.”Last week, after the repeated failure of the legislature to finalize the budget deal, the governor announced that he will take steps to manage the state finances and ensure that payments can be made to schools, health and human services providers, and other governmental entities.“The governor has a vision for Pennsylvania and that vision includes a reasonable shale tax,” said Representative Flo Fabrizio. “This is supported by the Democratic Caucus, because we know it will go a long way to eliminate the structural deficit. The budgets that the House Republicans have been suggesting have been unrealistic and lack reoccurring revenue. We’re looking forward to being back in Harrisburg next week to pass a responsible budget.”“We are enthused that Governor Wolf is here in Erie to discuss the latest on the state budget, especially since we are facing a deficit. We need a reasonable severance tax to truly help our state overcome that deficit.” said Representative Pat Harkins. “Our gas is currently being used tax-free by other citizens in various states, while Pennsylvanians are paying taxes that help build roads and schools in states like Texas. That is upsetting to me. With us returning to Harrisburg next week we remain hopeful that somehow all sides can arrive at a positive agreement.”The legislature has also not taken action to fund institutions of higher education including Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities and the PennVet School.“Our universities and students should not suffer because some in the General Assembly can’t put partisanship aside,” continued Governor Wolf. “A severance tax gets us the recurring revenue we need and will help pay for our commitments to our state universities.”Earlier this week, in an effort to protect school districts and other entities that rely on funding from state government, the governor announced his plan to monetize the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center through a lease-leaseback arrangement.center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more