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It seems to us . . . The Sabres take the Penguins outside, your taxes at work and Dan moves in

POND HOCKEY!: Can you imagine the party Western New York could throw for an outdoor Buffalo-Pittsburgh NHL game on New Year's Day in the Ralph? With fans in tuxedos for a Tux and Pucks day? With the wind chill in the . . .

Hey, we'd rather freeze our pucks off at an outdoor party than watch one of this era's pesky spring-like winter days melt this fantasy. Here's hoping the Sabres and NHL can pull this off, and that the weather holds. We'll worry about visibility in a blizzard, but we can only wonder what rain in January would do to our national image -- or for the cause of global warming.


YOU'RE HOME FREE: Congratulations -- you're working for yourself again.

Remember all those gloom purveyors who tell us, sometime in May, that your annual taxes have consumed all your earnings to date, and the date's getting later every year? Well, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation has just gone that one better and figured in not only tax but regulatory burdens to compare your paycheck to the cost of government at all levels.

Cost of Government Day was Wednesday -- the day government spending equaled the national income. You get to keep whatever else you make this year, if you want to look at all this as a lump sum. We prefer to take our lumps one paycheck at a time.


WELCOME TO THE TAX BASE: Upstate economic redevelopment czar Dan Gundersen's new lease on an Elmwood Village apartment (thus making him indirectly, at least, part of the city tax base) should trigger a sincere welcome from this area. It's nice to have him as part of the community.

Gundersen had decent reasons for his month-to-month lease in the Albany area, and he says he understands both the angst that triggered in upstaters and the symbolic as well as practical need for him to live here as well as work for the region. But he's certainly hit the ground running, with a quick education in no-holds-barred New York politics as a bonus. We hope he likes living here as much as we do, and that his family will, too, when he can finally reunite everybody here next year.

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