Instead of fighting tax bill, cut our taxes

first_imgI find it humorous that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to waste more New York state taxpayer money by suing the federal government over the new tax plan. This is nothing more than another expensive Cuomo campaign stunt — his motto is ABC – “Always Be Campaigning.” Cuomo likes to play fast and loose with tax dollars. While he has the state anywhere between $4 billion and $8 billion in the red before the development of next year’s budget, he just spent millions on an executive helicopter to transport him around.He has sent millions to Puerto Rico while taking trips to Cuba and Israel as New York’s infrastructure is failing. While I am all for helping others, none of this spending has been budgeted and adds to the growing deficit. He now wants to take the federal government to court and run up legal bills for nothing.It is interesting that 47 states are OK with the plan, while just New York, New Jersey and California are against the plan because of the massive income and property taxes to which those states subject their residents.The federal plan is no problem in a state like Florida, where there is no state income tax and the property taxes are less than half of what residents of New York pay. There is one simple solution to all of Mr. Cuomo’s angst. How about lowering the taxes in New York? Just a thought — one that he obviously has never had.John MetalloSlingerlandsMore from The Daily Gazette: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 intimidationCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Greed at center of train storage issue

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Why would Iowa Pacific Holdings put antiquated rail cars in the Adirondack Park? It’s simple: Greed. They can store roughly 1,760 cars every 20 miles. Companies pay $4 a day per car. That’s $2,569,600 per year for every 20 miles. At that price, Iowa Pacific will let them sit and rot. They’re in no hurry to move them.When they first acquired the line, Iowa Pacific Holdings said it wanted to sell the “railings” from the National Lead mine in Tahawus. However, Plan B was much more profitable.The headwaters of the Hudson River run parallel to the rail spur. The river then flows east to North Hudson at Exit 29 of the Northway. You may remember the governor bragging of creating a new facility there. But like the city of Hoosick Falls, North Hudson may require additional precautions for its drinking water.While balancing the need for jobs and maintaining the pristine beauty of the Adirondacks, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency face their biggest challenge — Wall Street ethics in the Adirondacks. The railroad baron faces Sheriff Cuomo in Frontier Town. It’s high noon.George HebertCohoesMore from The Daily Gazette:Albany County warns of COVID increaseEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Take precautions with oak tree fungus

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion An outbreak of oak wilt, a fungus that kills oak trees, has been confirmed in Schenectady County as of Nov. 27. This disease has been recorded in our county previously in 2008 and 2013. Killing trees within weeks, oak wilt harms trees by infecting their water-carrying cells, preventing the tree from receiving water and nutrients.Unfortunately, there’s no treatment that’s known to save infected trees. The only thing we can do is prevent the disease from spreading. An extremely effective way of doing so is not transporting firewood, especially oak wood, out of the area. Even if a tree isn’t exhibiting symptoms, it may still be infected. Therefore, any wood from a tree cut down in the area shouldn’t be transported out of the county. As has been done in the past, a protective zone will most likely be established around the location where diseased trees have been discovered, legally preventing the removal of wood from this area. Until then, the public should be aware of this issue and should take proper precautions to keep the trees in our area healthy.The trees in our area are worth protecting, not just for their beauty, but for their value to wildlife. Oak trees in particular provide both a habitat and food source for many animals, including birds and small mammals.As the weather continues to get colder, please keep the health of the Capital Region’s trees in mind when managing your firewood.Additionally, please be observant of the trees surrounding your home and report any abnormalities to the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Forest Health at [email protected] or call 1-866-650-0652.Grace CoddNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectlast_img read more

Moving on up

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£60m Trinity Square sale shelved as Willis stays put

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Champagne Cork

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Singapore remains open for business, despite COVID-19: Envoy

first_imgAmid heightened fears about the global spread of the novel coronavirus, Singapore has said it remains open for business and that it has put effective measures in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the disease resulting from the virus.Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia Anil Kumar Nayar said that from an economic standpoint, a complete lockdown of the country was impossible and cooperation between countries in the region was needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”I have to emphasize that Singapore is safe as far as COVID-19 is concerned. Our Indonesian friends who have business in Singapore, who would like to visit Singapore, please continue to do so,” Kumar Nayar said at a press briefing on Monday in Jakarta. Kumar Nayar said that authorities in Singapore would be strict about border control for inbound travelers and would pay closer attention to those who had travel histories to places that had seen an outbreak of the coronavirus, like China and South Korea.Authorities in Singapore have also enacted measures to quarantine those who recently traveled from areas of coronavirus outbreak like Wuhan in China and Daegu in South Korea.”We give a stay-at-home notice to people coming back to Singapore from those places. This is strictly enforced and we can deport or ban the entry of people who refuse to comply,” Kumar Nayar said.As of March 1, Singapore has confirmed 106 cases of COVID-19. A total of 74 patients have been discharged from the hospital, while seven are still in critical condition and under intensive care.Singapore has raised the Disease Outbreak Response (DORSCON) level to orange, a move that has allowed authorities to contain the spread of coronavirus.The country has also stepped up its cooperation with other countries and bodies in the region to prevent the spread of the disease, including the World Health Organization and Indonesia.”We worked closely with the WHO and countries in the region. There’s no point in lying because panic can be created from fake news and hoaxes,” Kumar Nayar said.Topics :last_img read more

NGO coalition calls for sustainable fisheries policies

first_imgSeveral nongovernmental organizations are joining forces to monitor the government’s policies on the fisheries sector and to make sure they would not harm the security and ecological sustainability of fish stocks and of the livelihoods of traditional fishermen.To strengthen their bargaining power, the organizations set up the NGO Coalition for Fisheries and Maritime Sustainability (Koral).The new coalition aims to push for fisheries governance that prioritizes national sovereignty and justice in fisheries and marine resources management, and upholds scientific-based recommendations, information disclosure and public participation, according to its statement. Topics : “The fisheries governance should also promote institutional effectiveness that supports the strengthening of independent management, people’s welfare and the preservation of coastal and marine ecosystems,” the coalition said.The coalition comprises the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (Kiara), Greenpeace Indonesia, the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI), the EcoNusa Foundation, Pandu Laut Nusantara, Destructive Fishing Watch​, Yayasan Terangi and the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).Among its programs, Koral would conduct studies and discussions, as well as provide policy recommendations to the government regarding issues in the fisheries sector to achieve sustainable and equitable maritime and fisheries governance.“We set up a coalition so that at least President Joko Widodo and [Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister] Edhy Prabowo will listen to us,” EcoNusa ocean program manager Wiro Wirandi said during a press conference on Tuesday.center_img In addition, IOJI’s enforcement support and stakeholder partnerships director, Fadilla Octaviani, highlighted the illegal fishing by foreign ships that still occurs in the country’s territory, citing the Chinese and Vietnamese fishing vessels that recently entered the North Natuna Sea.“This is a serious threat to our sovereign rights in our exclusive economic zone and our fish resources,” Fadilla said, adding that the government should strengthen law enforcement in the nation’s waters.The standoffs in the Natuna Sea have prompted the government to increase its presence in the area by assigning the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) to lead fisheries and security efforts with fishing associations.Fadilla also reminded the government to streamline its law enforcement authority over the seas because many agencies, aside from Bakamla, also patrol the oceans, namely the Transportation Ministry’s Coast and Sea Guard (KPLP), the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s sea patrol division, the Customs and Excise Agency and the National Police’s Water and Air Police, as well as many provincial administrations that conduct their own coast guard patrols. This often causes confusion because of overlapping operations.She also noted that the recent omnibus bill on job creation formulated by the government eliminated the National Commission of Fish Resources Assessment and she said she feared that fisheries management would no longer be based on the best scientific evidence and fish stock availability.The coalition raised concern over the ecological sustainability of the oceans, citing the government’s plan to export lobster seeds even though lobsters have been overexploited in all of the country’s fishing areas.Wiro noted the government’s plan to revise fisheries regulations and once again allow cantrang (seine nets) to be used, after having been banned by the previous maritime affairs and fisheries minister, Susi Pudjiastuti.Despite experts warning that the cantrang were harmful to coral reefs and seabed ecosystems, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said in January that his office and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry was conducting a study to address the concerns.Moreover, Destructive Fishing Watch national coordinator Moh. Abdi Suhufan highlighted the dire condition of the coral reefs in Indonesia as Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) research showed that 36.18 percent of them, 386 of a total of 1067 coral reefs, were in bad condition.Additionally, the group urged the government to protect the livelihoods of small and traditional fishermen. Walhi campaign coordinator Edo Rahman said the government should ensure that extractive industries would not threaten the livelihoods of people living in coastal areas and on small islands. “We always push the government to ban extractive industries in the zero- to 4-nautical-mile radius, so that it would be allocated for traditional fishermen,” he said.Furthermore, Kiara secretary general Susan Herawati criticized the omnibus bill on job creation that would require small fishermen to have permits and allow foreign vessels to fish in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone. She added that port developments stipulated by the bill would only benefit large fishing vessels and leave the small ones behind.“Traditional fishermen represent Indonesia’s identity as a maritime country. If they cease to exist, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry might as well change our identity to ‘maritime country for foreign vessels’,” Susan said. (mfp)last_img read more

Saudi Arabia detains two senior royals, including king’s brother: Sources

first_imgSaudi Arabia has detained two senior members of the Saudi royal family – Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman’s son and the de facto ruler of the world’s top oil exporter and key US ally, has moved to consolidate power since ousting his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne in a palace coup in 2017. He arrested several royals in an anti-corruption campaign later that year.One source said the detentions took place on Friday. Reuters could not immediately determine the reasons behind the detentions. Saudi insiders and Western diplomats say the family is unlikely to oppose the crown prince while the 84-year-old king remains alive, recognizing that the king is unlikely to turn against his favorite son. The monarch has delegated most responsibilities of rule to his son but still presides over weekly cabinet meetings and receives foreign dignitaries.Prince Ahmed has largely kept a low profile since returning to Riyadh in October 2018 after 2-1/2 months abroad. During the trip, he appeared to criticize the Saudi leadership while responding to protesters outside a London residence chanting for the downfall of the Al Saud dynasty.He was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling Al Saud family’s senior members, who opposed Mohammed bin Salman becoming crown prince in 2017, sources have earlier said.Mohammed bin Nayef’s movements have been restricted and monitored since then, sources have previously said.The latest detentions come at a time of heightened tension with regional rival Iran and as Crown Prince Mohammed implements ambitious social and economic reforms, including an initial public offering by oil giant Saudi Aramco on the domestic bourse last December. Saudi Arabia is also the current chair for the Group of 20 major economies.Prince Mohammed has been lauded at home for easing social restrictions in the Muslim kingdom and opening up the economy. But he has come under international criticism over a devastating war in Yemen, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of women’s rights activists seen as part of a crackdown on dissent.  Topics :center_img The Wall Street Journal reported the detentions of the two royals earlier on Friday, and said they related to an alleged coup attempt.Saudi officials could not be immediately reached for comment early on Saturday. The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.Prince Mohammed has fuelled resentment among some prominent branches of the ruling family by tightening his grip on power and some question his ability to lead following the 2018 murder of a prominent journalist by Saudi agents and the largest-ever attack on Saudi oil infrastructure last year, sources have said.They said royals seeking to change the line of succession view Prince Ahmed, King Salman’s only surviving full brother, as a possible choice who would have support of family members, the security apparatus, and some Western powers.last_img read more

World Bank suggests firms ‘hibernate’ during COVID-19 pandemic

first_imgSander went on to say that the government could also provide cash transfers to micro and small businesses with a small number of employees or no bank loans to help them cover daily expenses and keep them from selling their assets.Aside from hibernating, businesses could also convert their production lines to produce other products necessary in the fight against the pandemic so they could keep economic activities going, he said.Numerous textile companies have shifted to the production of hazmat suits and washable masks, while several state-owned firms like weapons manufacturer PT Pindad, electronics manufacturer PT LEN and aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) plan to produce ventilators for COVID-19 patients.For the longer term, Sander suggested the government create a comprehensive recovery plan and economic stimulus to help businesses repay their debts and help banks improve their balance sheets once the crisis ends.“The government should identify sectors that are badly hit by the pandemic and devise a robust revenue plan to help the economy recover from the crisis,” he said, adding that such a revenue plan included increasing state tax revenue by widening the tax base and tax-to-GDP ratio.As the pandemic has yet to show signs of abating, Sander also called on the government to protect sectors essential during the pandemic.“Sectors like food production, medical equipment production and health should be protected to ensure their accessibility to raw materials amid the mobility restrictions,” he said.The Health Ministry has approved requests from ten cities and regencies across Indonesia to enforce large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.As of Tuesday afternoon, the disease has infected more than 4,800 people in Indonesia and killed at least 450, official data show.Topics : The World Bank recommends that the government let firms “hibernate” to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and allow workers to keep their jobs.Lead country economist for Indonesia Frederico Gil Sander said on Tuesday that the Indonesian government could help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and big corporations by temporarily relieving them of fix costs like utility bills, loan interest and rents.He also suggested allowing firms to cut employees’ wages while the government would cover the difference with cash transfers. “This hibernation could help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 economic crisis [avoid] closure and let workers keep their jobs,” said Sander during a webinar.Some 2.8 million people have lost their jobs as of Monday, according to data from the Manpower Ministry and the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). More than half were furloughed and placed on paid or unpaid leave.A recent survey by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and SurveySensum found that business players expected the situation to normalize within five months, or around August. The survey further stated that the COVID-19 pandemic hit business revenue, with 76 percent of the respondents saying the pandemic had “severely disturbed daily business activities.”Read also: Red tape stymies social aidlast_img read more