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Friday, December 27, 2013 at 10:10 am

Sales & Marketing

post by Lisa Ace in batavia, Albany, IR Systems, Sales & Marketing

Company Name

IR Systems

Job Type

Full-Time

Sales & Marketing

New Year – New You! Start it off right. A great opportunity for the social butterfly who likes to talk and interact.

Salary/Commission/Bonus/Health Insurance. Training provided! If you have Sales & Marketing experience we can discuss pay. Call 585-813-4026 or email to ttucker2@rochester.rr.com to schedule an interview today!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Reader submitted editorial: Welcome to the State of The City of New York

A fact has become clear to me: The State of New York no longer exists. What we have today is a polity that is, in effect, the City of New York and its possessions.

The passage of the “SAFE” Act is a clear message to the residents of the possessions of the City of New York that our interests and lifestyle are no longer relevant to the politicians of the State of New York. The passage of this bill is the legislative equivalent of rape. It was passed suddenly and without our consent. Our interests and concerns, as well as our rights, were secondary to the whims and desires of the City of New York.

I am sure that there are state-level politicians who are absolutely befuddled by the fact that they are required to vote on farm issues since they have never seen a farm in the Bronx. I would not be surprised if the legislature of the State of the City of New York voted for a car tax that required New Yorkers to pay 100% of the value of their automobile each year since, in reality, a car is a luxury. You can always take the subway or a bus to wherever your going, after all. The cultural gap between the City and the State of New York is as vast as the gap between Washington, D.C., and America.

In a perfect world, the residents of the State of New York would have the right, and ability, to divorce themselves from the political overreaching of the City of New York. In the real world, we are stuck with its mandates and its world-view. I have had a recurring dream: I stand at the Rockland County line with a huge saw. I cut, and I cut. Eventually, NYC and Long Island are cut free and I push them out to sea. I wish them good luck in their journeys, but I do not miss them.

Back in the land of the awake, we have to deal with the costs of this NYC control to the people of the possessions of the City of New York. Unfunded mandates, regulations and laws, passed to solve NYC and NYC suburban county problems, but having statewide effect and statewide costs, have built upon and compounded on themselves. These costs are bringing our local governments to the brink of bankruptcy. The State Senate is controlled now by the politicians of the City of New York, regardless of the fig leaf of a few Democrats caucusing with the Republicans to form a “Republican” majority. The situation will continue to worsen and the costs to rise.

I can dream of the counties of Western New York declaring their separation and forming their own polity to free themselves from the tyranny of the City of New York, but this will not happen. It would create a new entity that would potentially result in a new state that would bring with it two new U.S. Senators who would inevitably be Republican. The City of New York would never stomach that, let alone the party of which it is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Alternatively, perhaps the border counties, and their neighbors, could petition Pennsylvania for admission to the Commonwealth. That will not be allowed for very much the same reason. It would tip the balance of power in Pennsylvania in favor of the Republicans. That would never be allowed.

What I suspect will continue to happen, though, is that former citizens of what was, once, the Empire State will continue to make their homes in Free States in the South and West of the United States of America in increasing numbers as the oppression of the City of New York continues. With lower taxes, and better employment prospects than are available in the possessions of the City of New York, it is a no-brainer to flee. Good luck paying your ever-increasing bills with an ever-increasing out-migration of taxpayers, State of the City of New York.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Same old, same old.taxes,

post by Bob Harker in Albany, GCEDC, spending, taxes

ALBANY — The state’s top court threw out a lawsuit today that would have upended the way New York funds economic development projects. In a 5-to-2 ruling issued this morning, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed the state’s right to transfer funds to “public-benefit corporations,” which then take the money and offer it to private businesses in the form of grants and tax incentives. The state’s main economic-development branch is the Empire State Development Corp., which is technically independent of the government and therefore isn’t bound by a constitutional ban on giving state money to private entities, the court found. Although some “may question the wisdom of policy choices,” the court found “no constitutional infirmity to the challenged appropriations,” according to the majority opinion. A Niagara County businessman and 49 other generally conservative taxpayers originally filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in 2009. The group alleged that grants doled out by the Empire State Development Corp. and other public-benefit corporations violated Article VII of the New York state Constitution, which prohibits state money from being “given or loaned to or in aid of any private corporation or association.” A state Supreme Court judge had ruled to dismiss the lawsuit, but the Appellate Division reversed the ruling last year. Today’s ruling upheld the Supreme Court judge’s original decision. JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

County legislature protests tax cap without mandate relief

post by Howard Owens in Albany, county legislature, taxes

Without mandate relief, local officials say, a proposed property tax cap will strangle county government.

The cap proposal is moving through Albany and today the Genesee County Legislature sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local representatives.

Without addressing the root cause of the problem -- unfunded mandates -- counties will have to begin eliminating all non-mandated, community-based programs and services to stay under the cap. These programs include veterans services and aging programs, local road and bridge maintenance and repair, road patrol, long-term care and substance abuse services, to name a few.

Legislative Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock told WBTA today that rising pension costs and Medicaid expenses that are "forced" on the county are eating up too much local revenue.

"Pension costs have gone up 31 percent," she said. "And in the past several years, Medicaid has continued to escalate in cost."

WBTA also spoke with  Batavia City Schools' Business Manager Scott Rozanski, who predicted dark days ahead under the cap.

"In essence, it means we could only increase our expenditures by about $350,000," he said. "Cutting more is doable, but it would probably create a lot more uproar." 

Superintendent Margaret Puzio blamed the current proposed increase in the tax levy on Albany.

"The only reason we're looking at an increase in the tax levy is because our state aid was cut," she said.

While in Batavia today, Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer addressed the issue. Ranzenhofer expressed support for Hancock's call to have the state assume the costs of Medicaid.

"I was a county legislator for 20 years -- I understand that issue," he said. "I'm also very concerned about overuse of the Medicaid system by some, to the detriment of others. I'm talking about not having every possible optional service that you can have.

If the state took over funding Medicaid, Razenhofer, it might take more seriously such as issues of fraud and waste and find ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Rural Perspective on Complete Streets Legislation

post by Timothy Hens in Albany, Complete Streets, County, Highway Funding, rural

On a recent drive from Batavia to Geneseo I found myself, like several other vehicles, stuck behind a very slow moving piece of agricultural equipment that was taking up the entire lane and the paved shoulder. Although it was a bright sunny day in February, there were whiteout conditions from the snow blowing off the tops of the built-up banks along the shoulder of the road. It was challenging driving and being a County Highway Superintendent, I couldn’t stop thinking about the new “Complete Streets” legislation being considered by our State Legislature in Albany.

 A complete street is when all users, such as bicycles, pedestrians and wheelchairs, are considered in the design and construction of a roadway.  Common complete street initiatives include sidewalks, crosswalk enhancements, bicycle lanes, speed humps and other traffic calming measures. The idea of complete streets is an offshoot of the Livable Communities movement which is the latest urban planning fad. It is a noble initiative aimed at making our communities an easier place to live by making jobs, shopping, dining and medical needs all footsteps away. A sample outcome would be to have a senior housing complex less than a block from both a grocery store and the doctor’s office with sidewalks and paths in between and options for alternate means of transportation. 
 
On this fine February day, I just couldn't see how a complete street would accomodate a pedestrian or a bicyclist between the snow bank and the 18 foot wide Grouser travelling ahead of me.
 
The “Complete Streets” bill proposed by Albany would mandate that state and local governments study and consider making enhancements to roadways when building, re-building or rehabilitating streets with federal or state aid. The current legislation is backed and being pushed by AARP and several other groups as the demographic that benefits the most from these enhancements would be senior citizens. More senior pedestrians are killed by vehicles than any other age group. For this reason alone, it makes absolute sense to improve the safety of our roadways for all users. The bill, however, fails to differentiate between urban streets and rural roads. This lack of differentiation is one of many reasons why the New York State Association of Counties recently passed a resolution against the bill. 
 
A complete street might make perfect sense in Queens, but it has no place on a rural county or town road. Many of these roads are narrow with limited shoulders and often deep drainage ditches. They are used by farm equipment and often are covered in mud or manure. Widening one of these roads to accommodate even a bike lane would be a significant undertaking. The relocation of ditches triggers la engthy environmental review and possible involves the taking of additional right-of-way which is another lengthy and often controversial process. Often times, rural roads are “roads by use”, which means the landowners actually own the property to the centerline of the road and there is no established right-of-way. In this case, the municipality has no jurisdiction outside of the bounds of the roadway. Just imagine the disputes that would arise over trying to negotiate right-of-way with 40 or 50 separate land owners.
 
While, the proposed bill provides exceptions to complete street improvements based on lack of need and burdensome cost, the need for a study or evaluation is still required. The study process will add delays and costs to road projects that are already significantly under funded. In urban areas, most municipalities have their own well staffed engineering departments that could perform the studies. In rural counties and towns, often times there is no engineering function at all. In most cases, rural areas would need to hire an outside consultant to formally determine that there is no room for pedestrians or bicycles when a large piece of farm equipment travels a narrow rural road.  Do we need consultants to tell us that there are limited pedestriansa long a back country road with no houses?  These common sense decisions shouldn’t require an expensive study.
 
Most local governments already have a hard time keeping up with basic road maintenance. State highway funding has been relatively flat over the last 20 years while the price of oil and maintenance materials has skyrocketed. The burden of unfunded social service mandates has limited the capacity of local government to fund their own highway maintenance. This bill further misdirects funding and makes it harder to get the job done.
 
Where it makes sense, local governments already implement safety improvements that consider the needs of other users.  In the last 5 years, Genesee County has widened several roads to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic along higher volume roads and in hamlet areas.  Several new road signs have also been added to aid disabled citizens.  All of these improvements have been made without state oversight and have been performed in a way that allows a balancing of the public interest at the local level.
 
The best course of action for our elected officials in Albany is to reject this bill and allow our local governments to decide what is best for their citizens. To add a bill that further detracts from highway funding and creates another mandate is counterproductive.
Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Hawley buys NY flags for Assembly colleagues

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Albany, elba, steve hawley

hawley_stateflag.jpg

This information is from a news release from Steve Hawley.

On July 1, Assemblyman Steve Hawley closed out the 2010-2011 Legislative Session by giving New York State flags to his colleagues in the Assembly.

Earlier in the week, Elba Town Supervisor Lucine Kauffman, and her husband Bill, took a tour of the State Capitol arranged by Assemblyman Hawley.

Upon reaching the Assembly Chamber, Supervisor Kaufmann and Bill were surprised to find that in addition to the American flag, many of the members' desks included flags of other countries and social causes, but there was not one New York State flag.

With that in mind, Assemblyman Hawley purchased New York State flags for each of his Assembly Minority colleagues, and several of his colleagues in the Majority, to go with their American flags.

They serve as a reminder that although this year was a banner year for dysfunction and fiscal mismanagement in Albany, the legislature should still show pride in our home - New York State!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Hawley weighs in on 'the good, the bad and the ugly' aspects of budget extentions

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Albany, genesee county, state budget

Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued the following news release today after Albany passed its 11th "budget extender."

“After two and half months, and 11 emergency budget extenders, New Yorkers are still without a state budget. In that time, we’ve seen our schools, local governments, contractors, state parks, and small businesses left in jeopardy as their fates have been left in the hands of weekly budget extenders.

"Although the ‘good’ that has come out of these extenders includes the reopening of state parks, some contractual obligations being met, school districts receiving their state aid, and other essential state services remaining open, the ‘good’ has without a doubt come with plenty of ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ costs.

“The bad consists of the simple fact that since April 1, the more than $9 billion budget gap has hardly been addressed. Instead, the most recent extenders have raised fees by nearly $4 million, raided $80 million from the Environmental Protection Fund, and introduced ‘savings,' rather than make the real cuts that are needed.

Additionally, this process does not allow schools, local governments, and businesses with state contracts to formulate their own budgets. Even uglier, because of the lack of a transparent budget process, the ‘three men in a room’ may close these budget shortfalls with more taxes, more state borrowing, and even more of the special-interest-driven backroom deals that put our state in this fiscal crisis to begin with.

“These budget extenders are simply laying the framework for another over-bloated state budget to be passed through a piecemeal process. I again voted against the budget extenders and ask that my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate majorities open up the budget process, allow needed input from rank-and-file members, and see to it that it is passed immediately.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 9:00 am

Hawley votes against so-called deficit reduction plan

post by Howard Owens in Albany, new york, steve hawley, taxes

Batavia's representative in Albany issued a statement this morning critical of a legislative plan to reduce spending because, he said, it hits Western New York harder than wasteful downstate interests.

hawley_assembly.jpgAssemblyman Steve Hawley said he voted against the plan.

"Yes, tough choices need to be made, but once again the downstate leaders have attempted to balance their inflated spending on the backs of Western New Yorkers," Hawley said in a statement. "Just as I voted against the excessive 2009-10 State Budget, I also voted against this "reduction" plan that does nothing but further shift the burden of Albany's irresponsible spending onto the backs of hardworking Western New Yorkers."

(UPDATE: The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, spoke with Steve Hawley this morning. Listen (mp3).)

The Buffalo News reports that the deficit reduction plan leaves New York still in the hole about $1 billion. The News characterized the cuts as "politically painless."

"Putting off the pain" is how the Albany Times-Union described the so-called deficit reduction plan.

After railing against Gov. David Paterson's deficit reduction plan for more than a month and a half, legislative leaders essentially endorsed half of his proposed measures. However, they spared themselves the political risk of cutting aid to schools that the governor says most districts -- sitting on plenty of reserves -- could have afforded. Instead of going along with an admittedly tough, unpopular move that the governor could still make, lawmakers opted to use $391 million in federal stimulus money that the state was holding for next year.

In an editorial, the Buffalo News also raps the legislature for its inaction, and includes this gem:

Rare is the politician who seeks office based on the promise that he will spend less on your children’s school and your grandmother’s hospital. But New York spends so much more than any other state on both functions without making our offspring smarter or our elders healthier. Like other states, our schools and health care institutions will simply have to make do with less money.

The New York Times editorial says the blame for the state's spending problems rests primarily with the Senate.

The State Senate, on the other hand, has done little more than issue press releases. Senators are too busy eyeing next year’s elections, especially those lawmakers with the least political security — that is, a few suburban Democrats in dicey districts and all 30 of the Republicans, who want to regain the majority next year.

They don’t want to do anything unpleasant or really difficult like pare state expenses in midyear — in other words do their jobs — even if it means facing an even larger deficit in April, perhaps as high as $10 billion.

Hawley's full statement following he jump:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

Farm Bureau visits Albany to oppose bill that would increase costs

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, Albany, Dean Norton, NY Farm Bureau

farm bureau.JPG

Farm Bureau President Dean Norton tells the Watertown Daily Times that a bill that would raise farm worker wages isn't necessary and will do more harm than good, for farmers and workers.

"If passed, this bill would put our industry into a major tailspin and wreck the already struggling upstate and Long Island economy," said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau and a Batavia dairy farmer.

Mr. Norton spoke at a press conference in Albany on Monday afternoon.

"The tragic irony of the situation is that the sponsors are primarily from New York City or urban areas, and most of them have never been on a farm," Mr. Norton said. "If the bill's sponsors spent some time understanding the issue, talking to farmers and farm workers, they would know that the bill doesn't actually benefit the worker."

The bill is scheduled for an Assembly floor vote this week and could increase farm costs by $200 million per year.

Sen. Catharine M. Young is critical of the legislative leadership for letting the bill get this far, because if it goes to a floor vote, there may be hard-to-resist pressure on many members to support it.

Sen. Catharine M. Young, R-Olean, said, "The only way to stop it is for it never to come to the floor for a vote."

She is the ranking minority member on the Agriculture Committee. She called the Times and criticized Sen. Aubertine for not quashing the bill in committee by talking to Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith. Mr. Aubertine, however, is not on the committee that will send the bill to the floor.

She said union special interests are driving the bill.

"If it is allowed to come to the floor, people are going to have to be held accountable," she said. "There's a chance it will pass and it will be devastating for the upstate economy."

The Farm Bureau argues that the bill, besides being burdensome, is unnecessary:

Among other provisions, the omnibus bill would also allow farm workers to unionize, mandate one day off per week for farm workers, call on farms to provide unemployment insurance, workers compensation and disability insurance for injuries off the job.

According to the Farm Bureau, farm workers already have stronger protections in the state than under federal law. Medium- and large-sized farms already provide unemployment insurance. All farms follow a state sanitary code for migrant and seasonal housing that is stricter than the federal code.

Farms provide free housing, transportation and utilities for their workers. New York is one of two states with a housing program for farm workers. Farm employees also have work agreements for the type of work, wages, work hours, pay period, benefits and vacation and other arrangements.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley opposes the bill and posted a column alerting the public to the pending legislation last week.

Pictured above are Hawley and members of the Farm Bureau. The picture was submitted this morning by Hawley's office.

UPDATE: Additional coverage from the D&C, which quotes a proponent of the bill:

"We deserve to have a day of rest, to be paid overtime and to join a union if we choose — just like anyone else," farm worker Salvador Solis said in a news release from the Justice for Farmworkers group, which is pushing the bill.

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:31 am

Proposed state budget will suck $10 billion out of the economy

post by Howard Owens in Albany, Paterson, taxes

We keep hearing about how New York is in crisis.

So I find this morning's Buffalo News headline a little shocking: Both spending and taxes soar in state budget.

When you or I find our income greatly reduced, our primary option is to massively cut our own spending. We can only raise more revenue if we can sell our services on the open market for a higher fee. We don't have the option of extorting more money from people, unless we want to risk jail time.

The government, especially New York's government, doesn't work that way.  When it find itself facing revenue shortfalls, not only can it force its citizens to pony up more taxes and fees, it can go right ahead and increase spending as well.

Where on the measure of common sense does this fall?

The lead of the News story, with its list of new taxes and fees, along with the total amount raised, is stagger:

The state’s new, inflation-busting budget will require New Yorkers to pay more to go fishing and hunting, drive a car or motorcycle, have life insurance, operate the lights and heat in their homes, buy cigarettes, own a cell phone and drink beer, wine and bottled water.

Single taxpayers making more than $200,000 a year will see a jump in taxes, as will bus companies, nuclear plants, food processing companies, racehorse owners, farmers, pesticide applicators, grocery stores and anyone wanting to open a hospice.

In all, the total number of new taxes, fees and various assessments and surcharges will top $7 billion in the new budget that state lawmakers will vote on beginning Tuesday. The governor’s office put the number at $5.3 billion, but that misses a number of levies.

That's $7 billion that will be sucked out of state's economy. That's $7 billions in lost jobs, lost opportunity and lost economic growth.

The News also reports that items such as the end of the STAR rebate program, will cost taxpayers a total of $10 billion when all is said and done.

That's $10,000,000,000.

Meanwhile, spending is skyrocketing to an astonishing $131.8 billion.

With a $17.7 billion deficit to wrestle—up from $16.2 billion just a week ago — Paterson and lawmakers turned to every possible revenue source to go along with $6.5 billion of assorted cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other programs. Rounding out the money to fill the gap is $6.2 billion in federal stimulus aid.

It's not enough to just close the budget gap, Gov. Paterson and the legislative leadership just can't wait to spend more money.  As the D&C reports, the new budget increases spending by 9 percent, or about $10 billion. Again, in tough times, you and I must cut spending, but not the government -- it just raises taxes and fees and takes more money out of your pocket.

And what's with using $6 billion in federal stimulus money to balance this bloated budget? That money should go to things that, you know, supposedly, allegedly will stimulate the economy, such as new infrastructure projects. Or helping small businesses. Not to increasing the size and scope of government.

Fiscal mismanagement like this should be an impeachable offense. Albany is out of control.

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