Response to Senator Ortt

Senator Robert Ortt
175 Walnut Street, Suite 6
Lockport, NY 14094

Dear Senator,

I am receipt of your recent mailer “No NY Tax Breaks for Hollywood Millionaires”. I will not sign it.

First of all, you are connecting Weinstein to the entire film industry. That is wrong.

Second, you write about “Hollywood welfare”, while not giving a hint of concern about one of the biggest welfare scams I have ever seen, the recently approved so-called Tax Reform bill that quite simply rewards the very rich at the expense of everyone else. I am expecting a major impact on my tax obligations because of this bill. If you were being vigilant about taxes and budgets this is what you should be addressing in a taxpayer-financed mailer to your constituents.

Of course, the most reasonable place to address my concerns about federal tax law is my Congressman Christopher Collins, but he steadfastly refuses to respond to any mail, messages or phone calls that I have sent him. He has made it very clear that he is only accountable to his donors. He seems to have missed the lesson in 9th grade civics class that representatives are accountable to all of their constituents. So I am rightly skeptical of new tax laws endorsed by a representative who appears to be afraid of his own constituents.

Senator, I am very disappointed in your mailer. I am very disappointed that you are not addressing the most significant issue related to taxation. I expect better.

James R. Renfrew, Clarendon NY
January 6, 2018

Response to Stephen Hawley

I’d like to take a few moments to respond to Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s reply to the Orleans Hub editorial “GOP State Senate blueprint for NY should include equitable AIM funding for villages”.

Currently, village residents are terribly overtaxed compared to our non-village neighbors. This is directly a result of how localities can tax, how services are provided, and how the state distributes aid to correct for any inequities.

The county taxes all county residents. The towns for the most part tax all town residents (except for paving town roads). The villages can only tax village residents. When villages provide services themselves that means that the county and towns need to provide fewer services. Comparable services of the county and towns get redirected outside of the villages.

The unfairly high village taxes are a prime reason why the tax base has continued every year to gradually shift away from the villages. Every time a person decides to buy a home or property the market corrects for this unfairness by depressing sale prices in the villages.

Mr. Hawley’s response mentioned Medicaid, but the local share is a county expense and hits all county residents equally in the county tax rate. It doesn’t adversely impact village residents.

Mr. Hawley mentions a few bills that he has sponsored. I read each bill and it looks like the first 2 address any future state programs and doesn’t help correct the existing overtaxing of village residents. His response claimed that the 3rd bill would redirect extra AIM funding to villages, but when I read the text it seems to redirect extra AIM funding to towns as well – so, again, no correction to help overtaxed villages.

I expect that if we fail to address the existing unfairness of our local government structure then you will see further decline in the villages going forward. Our state representatives need to start work cooperatively with the state to fix this situation – and lay off unproductive insults of the governor and “downstate politicians”. Our local leaders need to be willing to go outside their comfort zone and consider reorganizing how local governments provides services. A county where all localities thrive is going to be more attractive to outside investment that one with struggling villages.

Jason Dragon
Village of Albion

Disinformation New Network

Dear Editor:

Not to worry that Thomas Jefferson said, “If I had to choose between a government without newspapers and newspapers without a government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.” Ignore the fact that the Orleans economy has essentially depended on “chain migration” for many decades. Imagine railing against those who feel ‘entitled’ to disability while you “reform” the tax code and give yourself and your fat cat pals tens of millions in tax breaks. In the President’s words, “My accountant tells me I will get killed by this bill.” Of course, we won’t know until we see his tax returns. Don’t hold your breath.

The seriously naïve among us should consider the grave risks implicit in restricting their television news viewing to what I often refer to as DNN, the Disinformation News Network. Of course, keeping the blinders on will permit them to feign surprise when everything hits the fan. Much of the American electorate appears to have an elementary concept of citizenship in a republic. Why does the President persist in efforts to undermine public confidence in the judiciary? Why does he often question unfavorable election outcomes? Why does he often attack the media and label fact-based truth “fake news”? How does it help the American people to undermine the professionalism of the Federal Bureau of Investigation? Does ignorance alone explain why a President would act to sabotage public faith in so many of the institutions vital to the very existence of our republic?

Why do our intelligence agencies agree Russia sought to influence our 2016 Presidential election in favor of Donald Trump? Does Vladimir Putin have something on his “friend”? What does it mean to be “played”? Why has Russia/the Soviet Union been committed to the use of “disinformation” for decades? What is the Constitutional definition of treason? What did presidential historian Douglas Brinkley mean when he noted eight, or nine, months ago that, “The smell of treason is in the air”? Why did conservative republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona say Donald Trump reminded him of the “Biblical Flood”? Is “fake news” a euphemism for inconvenient truth? Was President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky consistent with “other high crimes and misdemeanors” under Article 2, Section 4, of the Constitution?

Do you think the Constitution’s author(s) would view at least some of what is going on today as consistent with language included in Article 3, section 3, of the Constitution? Or, are you for “loose construction” only when it suits you and applies to Democrats? Are you patriotic?

We had all better hope Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a George W. Bush appointee and life-long Republican, succeeds before the President, his Machiavellian allies, and DNN does him in. Finding God soon might make it more likely any desperate prayers get answered before the greatest nation on earth gets taken down. Or did teaching American History and the Constitution for 34 years just make me hopelessly alarmist?

Sincerely yours,
Gary F. Kent
Albion, NY