I think people in neighboring states could hear New Yorkers breathe a collective sigh of relief this past week as we finally began to see the effects of our new tax cap. More than anything else, property taxes have been the overriding issue in New York for many years, especially since they’ve grown on average more than 6 percent a year for 10 years, double the rate of inflation.
So, after leading the nation in runaway increases for so long, we finally hit the brakes in 2011 with a tax cap that had bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature. With limited exceptions, it holds increases in school and local property taxes to 2 percent a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
But there’s one thing that takes players back to their senior year of high school, an essential SAT for draft-eligible football players—the Wonderlic test.
As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, you know it must be spring in New York City when the mayoral candidates declare war on the suburbs. No sooner did we repeal the onerous MTA payroll tax than candidate, Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer, trotted out his plan for a new and improved commuter tax. I know, I know, it’s not really new. Multiple candidates in every mayoral race suggest it, but Mr. Stringer gets the prize for being the first this year. It’s a sharp political move for them when you think about it: advocate for a tax on those who can’t vote for (or against) you anyway.
If you’re unfamiliar with this flawed policy, allow me to fill you in. The commuter tax was in place since 1966. If you didn’t live in the five boroughs but traveled into the city for work, the city conveniently took a percentage of your salary for the privilege. It was finally repealed in 1999 and ever since, mayoral candidates of every stripe have tried to resurrect it, pandering to the age-old instinct, “Let the other guy pay for it.”
Each day, including weekends, I receive emails from the Senate Communications Office that contain news stories from media outlets around the state. The emails cover just about everything that would be of interest to state senators and we’re asked to review them to keep abreast of developing issues. I actually kind of enjoy reading most of them. It’s like having all the key issues conveniently delivered every morning and it makes my job that much easier.
Most news “trends” come from unplanned events or circumstances. For example, a hurricane will naturally trigger stories for several days on emergency preparedness or our lack of it. But I’ve been in politics long enough to read other stories and decipher that something’s happening behind the scenes, a story behind the story. These seemingly innocuous items are gently spun into the news stream to slowly start beating the drum of support for some upcoming issue or agenda.
Trainville Hobby Depot of Hicksville is bringing a model train show to the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale again this year on the weekend of April 28 and 29. Hours are Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission includes the train show and all museum exhibits.
Many local train clubs set up their very impressive displays of N, HO and O-gauge model railroads. Trainville Hobby Depot will be displaying its N-Scale layout. There will also be a display planned of the Z-Scale trains.
For many, the blooming trees and reddened thermometers signal the start of spring – a new beginning, a fresh start and, finally, the end of winter.
For this editor, spring means the start of the National Hockey League playoffs and the culmination of what’s been one of the New York Rangers’ most enjoyable seasons in recent memory.
New Yorkers said, “Play it again, Sam,” and we did. For the second consecutive year, your state government produced an on-time budget that puts the breaks on state spending and does not increase taxes or fees. You heard that correctly: holds spending in check with no new taxes or fees.
We had been working very hard, noses to the grindstone, but frankly, I thought there’d surely be some last-minute hitch that would send us back to the drawing board. It’s always difficult reaching consensus in a state as large and diverse as ours. Thankfully, nothing so difficult materialized and we moved forward with not only an on-time budget, but a responsible one as well. However, before I highlight it, I’d like to share why this is so significant.
When was the last time a backup quarterback got his own press conference to introduce him to the media covering his new NFL team?
The media circus, billboard marketers’ dream from the heavens, or whatever you want to call Tim Tebow may do more harm than good for the unnamed player bashing, loud-mouthed huddle fighting New York Jets if three-year signal-caller Mark Sanchez develops a case of the hiccups to start the 2012 season. It took three games for Denver Broncos fans to start chanting the former Florida Gators’ surname. After a 1-4 start by then-QB Kyle Orton, the clock on “Tebow Time” started ticking.
The New York Jets were relatively quiet during the NFL’s free agency frenzy, which began March 13, 2012 – the date likely to be remembered for Peyton Manning’s departure from Indianapolis, which rendered him a Colt in the same regard as the city of Baltimore.
In true Jets fashion, the announcement of the Tim Tebow trade – albeit with its minor complications – stole (read: engulfed) headlines and emphatically overshadowed what was already one of the wildest weeks in football history.
Earlier this month, officials at Stony Brook University here on Long Island announced that they are adopting a secular calendar. Changing decades of understanding and tolerance for the sake of secular uniformity, they will now hold classes on religious holidays. That means Christian and Jewish holidays like Good Friday, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah will be ignored and classes will be scheduled.
Christmas is spared because of the university’s collective bargaining agreement with its unions, but absent that, they would schedule classes on that day as well. Their thinking, and it might have been well-intentioned, was that they didn’t want to appear unfair to any other religion. I find their logic flawed on a number of levels.
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