Monday, June 05, 2006

Bits & Pieces

High Gas Prices + Cap On State Taxes = No Savings To Consumers

For those who may be unaware, the NYS Legislature passed, and Governor George Pataki has signed, a measure that caps State taxes on gasoline at that paid on $2 per gallon. The law, which took effect last week, in effect caps the tax at 8 cents per gallon.

So, why haven't any of us seen any real savings at the pump? Well, there's still County taxes, amounting anywhere from 8 to 15 cents per gallon, and the caveat that few realize: the cap applies to State taxes paid by dealers/distributors, not the consumer at the pump.

The real savings to John Q. Public -- if any -- is more like 3 or 4 cents per gallon. Most of us haven't even seen that much in savings, notwithstanding a drop in the price of gasoline of about 3 cents from 2 weeks ago.

Meanwhile, with no appreciable benefit to the consumer, the State stands to lose millions in revenues, adding to the ever-escalating State debt.

Better put those pennies back in the piggy-bank, ladies and gents. You'll need them when those future tax hikes are summoned forth to pay that piper who goes by the name of political expediency!
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No Democracy In Buffalo

We remember a time when the Democrats paid homage to democracy, holding open primaries, and giving voice to those who may not necessarily tow the party line -- a/k/a "reformers." No more.

Gone are the days when the doors were open to debate, discussion, exploration of the issues, and, at the end of the day, September primaries where John Q. Public could chime in with his 2 cents as to who would best represent the future of the party.

The recent State Democratic Convention in Buffalo effectively precluded most prospective primary challenges, not only keeping "outsiders" off the ballot -- lest they choose to go the cumbersome "Petition" route -- but out of the arena. [Democratic gubernatorial contender, Tom Suozzi, was not even permitted to address the convention, where Eliot Spitzer received his party's coronation. A longshot and a maverick, yes, but most definitely Tom Suozzi is the bearer of a message that needs to be heard.]

Down on Long Island, where the State GOP met at Hofstra, the door was opened to a September primary between John Faso, the official party designee, and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. Candidates for the GOP nod for U.S. Senate, John Spencer, the former Yonkers mayor and a vigorous conservative, and K. T. McFarland, one of the top women in the Reagan administration, will also have the chance to duke it out in a primary fight.

Maybe the Republicans -- never known for tolerating much dissent within the ranks -- have become the new Democrats, at least in terms of giving the electorate the opportunity to hear the candidates talk about the issues, and make a decision at the polls rather than in back rooms at political conventions.

Okay, so the GOP got to a September primary or two unwittingly, almost by accident, and certainly not by choice.

Still, in this instance, they did the Dems one better by promoting the debate, however one-sided and self-serving it may turn out to be.

POSTSCRIPT: On June 6th, William Weld, bowing to pressure from high-ranking GOPers, dropped out of the race for Governor. So much for that glint of democracy in the Republican Party!
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Still Time To Register for June 8th Conference on Special Districts

Unless you are doing cartwheels over your property tax bills, then there's only one place for you to be this Thursday, June 8th: The conference on Special Districts to be held at Hofstra University.

Yes, you are invited, and, if you are not too busy working so as to earn enough money to pay those Special District taxes, you should make it your business to attend this important forum.

Registration is required, and you can reserve your seat -- and the opportunity to voice your concerns -- by e-mailing the Nassau County Comptroller at or call by calling 516-571-2677.

You complain about the negative impact Special Districts have, from wallet to waste. Now, the chance to finally start to do something about it!

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