Month: October 2020

Republican tax plan’s flaws will make it difficult to pass

first_imgFrom a political standpoint, tax cuts for corporations are hugely unpopular.This is especially true if they take up so much of the tax bill that there is a smidgen ($300 billion) left over for individual tax cuts.None of this is to say some kind of tax bill won’t pass.However, the immediate, negative response shows there is a long way to go before Republicans will be able to claim any kind of legislative win.And if you are a betting person, you might want to wager that the final bill will be a lot smaller than Republicans wanted.Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes “Three major provisions in the bill arbitrarily expire after five years, making them look much cheaper than they actually are.There is no legitimate policy justification for these sunsets — the intent is clearly to force Congress to extend them in the future.Doing so would add over $350 billion to the cost of the bill.”(And if Congress rejects cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in the spending bill, the debt will go up even more.)The health-care bill is back.Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and other staunch conservatives want to use the tax bill to — one more time! — get rid of the individual mandate in Obamacare.That proposal failed in the health-care debate and would likely lose all Democratic votes in the Senate plus those of Republicans who already objected to GOP health-care bills.Home builders and real estate agents won’t like it.These two groups fear that the lowered cap on the mortgage interest deduction plus the big increase in the standard deduction (meaning fewer itemizers) will wallop the housing industry. The head of a home builders group declared,“What we’ve seen is that when house values start to go down, it spreads to the next market after that, and another market, and the next thing you know you have a housing recession.”There are home builders and real estate agents in every state, and if they make a big push, that will spell trouble for vulnerable lawmakers.Charities won’t like it.The increase in the standard deduction also means many individuals won’t get the tax break for charitable giving.(“The tax reform bill unveiled today by the House Ways and Means Committee would tragically undermine the ability of certain charitable nonprofits to serve our country’s people and communities,” the chief executive of a nonprofit group has claimed.)Universities get hit again by a new tax on endowments. Once again, there are nonprofit organizations in every city — and they will have sympathetic clients whom the nonprofits will say will go without help.Corporations aren’t people.The administration’s argument that the bulk of corporate tax cuts goes to boost workers’ wages is disputable from a policy standpoint. “It also is well under the 4.6 percent jobless rate Fed officials see as the threshold for a labor market running at full steam, a level known as ‘full employment.’Most central bankers believe a labor market this tight should soon fuel higher inflation.”)Since the vast majority of the tax breaks go to the very rich, their heirs or corporations (which are already hiring in a full-employment environment), the rationale for this kind of tax bill is not consistent our current economic circumstances.Deficit hawks won’t like it.The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget finds, “According to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the TCJA would increase deficits by $1.487 trillion over 10 years.Those deficits would lead to higher debt, resulting in $270 billion in additional interest costs.As a result, the legislation would add $1.75 trillion to the national debt by 2027.”That is not all, however. Categories: Editorial, OpinionHouse Republicans finally revealed their tax plan this past week.They received some swift and fierce pushback, which suggests this might be more difficult than they expected.Right now we see six areas of concern.First, who needs it?Approximately 45.5 percent of American households pay no federal tax, meaning they get nothing from this tax bill.In fact, when you figure in Medicaid cuts to pay for this, the poor could very well end up worse off.The notion that we need this bill to create jobs is hard to maintain when unemployment is down to 4.1 percent (“That would be below the 4.3% where Fed officials in September estimatedit would be by year’s end,” the Wall Street Journal’s David Harrison writes.last_img read more

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Beware of Spectrum sneaky rate increases

first_imgSpectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable, advertises its services as superior because customers don’t have to sign a contract. Here’s what Spectrum means by “no contract.”I have had the same cable service package — basic internet, telephone, and television — for over 15 years. Between July 2017 and May 2018, shortly after Spectrum took over Time Warner, my cable bill has increased 37 percent. And that increase has been sporadic; one month it increases a few dollars; the next it stays the same.In Spectrum-speak, “no contract” means Spectrum can raise your rate whenever it wants to however much it wants. Beware. They will.FORMAN PHILLIPSBallston SpaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGuilderland girls’ soccer team hands BH-BL first league loss Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

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Unite to get our good old America back

first_imgIt’s time for all of us to take a long look at what is going on in the United States. We do live in a great country.Most of our population over the last 100 years has come from other countries. Most became citizens of the United States, and were proud to do so. They all knew of the freedoms our land had to offer. You could find work somewhere and go to any house of prayer you wanted to; it was all good most of the time. Our country has more freedoms than any other country in the world. We now have to recheck some of our laws and freedoms. We all remember when one word was taken out of our school prayer — our school system started to go downhill most smart people know this.If you were in the service of the U.S. military, you were told if there’s an officer you don’t like, don’t say anything bad about that person. If you do, you are in big-time trouble with the military. If you don’t like that person, you’d better respect their rank and uniform. It looks like this rule or law didn’t pass on to our government leaders and our civilian population.It’s not right what goes on with what we say about our government. Saved by the freedom of speech — so sad. It’s time to bring our country back to better times.God bless America and its people. We need peace in our own country.SID GORDONSaratogaMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, Jan. 1

first_imgGroup thankful for community supportOnce again, the officers and members of Catholic Daughters Court Catherine Esther #1264 would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the people in the area communities who contributed items and money to the Holiday Collection for Veterans and deployed military. We wish to thank NBT Bank and Our Lady of Hope Church in Fort Plain and Lee’s Shops at Wagner’s Square in Canajoharie for their cooperation in letting us place the collection boxes in their lobbies and vestibules.We’d also like to thank Arkell Hall Adult home for joining us in collecting recommended items. In addition, we are extremely grateful for the publicity afforded us by the Courier-Standard, the Recorder, My Shopper, the Pennysaver and other area newspapers. Because of the response from the communities, we sent seven boxes of toiletries, warm clothing, snack and gift items to the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center in Albany. The collection was delivered to the VA by Lisa Bowman, a retired Air Force nurse who works at the Albany VA.The items were distributed to the veterans and wounded warriors before Christmas. We also received enough money in donations to purchase 29 holiday care packages for deployed soldiers from the Soldiers’ Angels organization and to put toward shipping costs. This was a wonderful response from our little communities and we thank you all for joining us in supporting our wounded military and veterans along with our deployed soldiers during the Christmas season. May God bless you for your generosity. Marlene NalliFort PlainThe writer is the Regent and Collection Coordinator for Court Catherine Esther #1264 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionGOP must wake up to children’s deaths How many more migrant children will die while in custody? Will any Republicans in Congress wake up?Marilyn ScottMiddle Grovecenter_img Writer’s claims on Obama are not trueI’m writing in regard to Diane Sanders Hombach’s Dec. 26 letter. Ms. Hombach makes several points which are not true.First off, she points to the 2018 mid-term elections as big losses for Trump and the Republican Party. Comparing apples to apples, Trump’s first mid-term election results vs. Obama (in 2010): Trump lost 40 House seats, Obama lost 64; Trump gained two Senate seats, Obama lost six Senate seats.Ms. Hombach also mentions Obama did not lie in regard to Obamacare. President Obama repeatedly stated, “You can keep your plan; you can keep your doctor” and millions of Americans lost both due to Obamacare.Regardless of what Ms. Hombach thinks regarding Obama’s Iran deal, the fact remains he gave pallets of cash to the chief state sponsor of world terrorism.Lastly, Ms. Hombach contends that President Obama had received more than 50 percent of the popular vote, and that had not been done since President Reagan. She could easily look up the facts, both George H.W. Bush in 1988 and George W. Bush in 2004 received over 50 percent of the popular vote.Timothy Gaffney, Sr.RotterdamMore 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?Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18last_img read more

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Op-Ed: Escape from New York? The grass is always greener … until it isn’t

first_imgFlorida has no state income tax.However, New York does not tax Social Security or state retiree pensions at all — and the first $20,000 of individual retirement accounts and private pensions is also exempted from state income tax.  So economics didn’t really force them out.The promise and ease of more temperate winter weather did.Furthermore, while changing their legal residence to Florida to take advantage of homestead tax exemptions and credits, many still come back to New York in summer when the heat and humidity in Florida becomes just as inhospitable as the winter cold and ice does here.Florida has plenty of nice homes comparably priced to those in the Capital Region.The beaches and sunsets are beautiful, the lifestyle relaxing (for retirees, at least), food and fuel prices are attractive, jobs (in construction and tourism, at least) plentiful and the weather is much, much better in winter. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThere are times when, as a matter of routine, New Yorkers begin to vicariously plot their “escape” from the Empire State.One is when they perceive that the temperature has plunged too far for too long or the snow is flying too frequently and in too great a quantity — like now.Others – especially for conservatives — include when the state’s income and property taxes are coming due.There’s a liberal version of this too — a “promising” life as a political exile in Canada when control of the government shifts too far to the right for their liking.Some follow through, but for most it’s either a passing fancy or a physical or financial impossibility. That’s good because, more often than not, those that leave for supposed greener pastures end up with mixed feelings again.   All places— including New York — are a mixture of positives and negatives. Travel and economic development brochures or brief stays on vacation in unusually pleasant surroundings accentuate the former. The latter only come to light with time and deeper experience.  Nonetheless, first term Halfmoon Republican state Sen. Daphne Jordan put it the way most Republicans do.“Taxpayers are hurting and continue leaving New York in record numbers. It’s not because of the weather, but due to our high taxes, crushing high cost of living and lack of good-paying jobs, especially upstate.”High taxes, costs of living — especially downstate with soaring housing prices including annual property taxes well into five figures — and the lack of good paying jobs upstate certainly are factors. All do require better and more effective attention from the Legislature and governor.But, sorry Daphne, weather is a chief — and maybe the principal — factor at work here.According to the U.S. Census, 180,306 people left New York between 2017 and 2018, with a net loss in population of only around 48,510. Most were retirees who went to Florida.  On the other hand, theft and violent crime is noticeably higher (hence, lots of gated communities), homelessness and panhandling is prevalent and ever visible, instances of flooding and toxic algae in the state’s inland and coastal waters are increasing due to rising ocean levels and a lack of environmental regulation.And then there’s the ridiculous stand-your-ground law and constant legislative attempts to push guns into new places everywhere.  Next in order of preference behind Florida as the states where New Yorkers go when they leave are New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.The only other relatively low-tax state on that list is North Carolina.Tax burdens and jobs are certainly important considerations to families, but so is education.According to Forbes, New York’s public school system ranks in the middle of the pack, 24th, overall. There’s plenty of room for improvement there, but the five states cited above all rank lower. New York also ranks 12th in school security, demonstrably better than any of those other states.Who is best on both scores? The answer might surprise you.   It’s Massachusetts, our neighbor to the east. And job prospects there in well paying fields are good and growing. Apparently, you can get what you pay for. Sen. Jordan is on the right track in one important respect.If neighboring Massachusetts — an older Northeastern state, with cold winter weather, high taxes, high housing costs and living expenses – can be No. 1 in these categories, what is New York not doing that Massachusetts is?To be sure, things are not all rosy in New York, but neither is everything anywhere.You’ll be happy some times and unhappy at others.John Figliozzi is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

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Newbury

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West Midlands retail All over the shop

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H&B grows in Germany

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C&R pulls plug on net shopping mall

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Sellar’s Ealing production

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