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New York State farmers face more pressure than ever and state and federal leaders have the ability to do something about it. One relatively easy way to help farmers is for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislators to include the New York Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit bill in the final state budget. The bill gives New York farmers a refundable tax credit up to $5,000 …

Robert Wilmers, the chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, is known as a sensible man on subjects regarding his profession, including the role of government regulation. So it’s worth paying attention to his observations about Washington’s broadly drawn oversight of the nation’s banks. His point, repeatedly made, is that regulations that make sense for megabanks are pun…

Here’s how Rep. Chris Collins thinks he should represent his district in Washington: by engineering a maneuver that upends decades of policy with no thought to consequences. His amendment, to be voted on today, would absolve counties of all Medicaid costs in just two years and, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, create a $2.3 billion hole in the health care program for t…

Here’s the test for any Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act: Does it do what President Trump promised in January, only days before he was inaugurated? Specifically: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said then. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happ…

Here, in order, are the factors that Erie County legislators need to sort through regarding the proposal to renovate the emergency department and make other improvements at Erie County Medical Center: • First of all, this is a necessary project. The hospital lacks the space and sophistication needed as demand for its services rises. It’s crucial for the hospital t…

The Board of Regents made a bad decision in eliminating a requirement that teacher candidates in New York pass a literacy test to become certified. The move followed controversy after black and Hispanic candidates passed the test at significantly lower rates than white candidates. The Regents also progressed on a proposal that would allow some teacher candidates who fai…

If it’s NCAA time in America, then it’s crunch time in Albany for the New York State budget. The 2017-18 spending plan is due a week from this Friday and, if past is prologue, the governor and lawmakers will be horse-trading right up to the deadline and perhaps a few hours past it. But time remains to get this right – or not – as the state puts a price tag on its p…

It’s more than a little creepy that the Rath Building recently came under assault by bedbugs. And it’s hard not to sympathize with the 30 Erie County employees who were allowed to go home early, with a promise of a paid day off. That’s what County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw told workers, but it appears he was premature. County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz says th…

President Trump has made clear that his budget priorities do not line up with some of the key initiatives that have contributed to the region’s economic resurgence. Start with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provides funds to clean up damage to the world’s largest source of fresh surface water. The budget proposed cutting its funding from $300 million …

Transit Police Officer David Capretto is right. A baby is alive today because he was in the right place at the right time. But Capretto errs in downplaying his role as merely showing up. He did more than that. He acted. Some of that, of course, is because he’s a cop, trained to intervene. Fair enough, but in doing so – coolly, thoughtfully, strategically – he save…

A recently renovated house in Kenmore is an example of what can be accomplished when municipalities, nonprofits and the public work together to fight blight. The Kenmore house at 22 Allegany Ave. got new life after sitting vacant for nearly eight years following a fire in 2009. That’s when it began its second life as a “zombie” home. Such homes have been abandoned…

Call this progress. Whether it is sufficient is uncertain, and it’s possible there will need to be compromise by the Cuomo administration, but the State Legislature, after an uncomfortable period of resistance, has come out foursquare in support of the second round of the Buffalo Billion. That’s a relief. The initial failure of the Western New York delegation to sup…

For two decades Hostel Buffalo-Niagara has provided a base for thousands of mostly young people from around the world to explore all the region has to offer. But its once-forlorn location – 667 Main St. in the Theatre District – is now a prime location for redevelopment as part of the city’s downtown revival. The city owns the building and is looking to spin it of…

It will take more than a new slogan, but a new slogan and branding campaign at least offer a start on the necessary work of making Niagara Falls what, by all rights, it should be: a dyed-in-the-wool tourist magnet. The work, costing $500,000, began 18 months ago and produced a new strategy for promoting the city and the falls, beginning with the new catchphrase: “Niag…

Welcome to Buffalo, basketball fans. And for some of you, welcome back. It’s been three years since the Queen City last hosted the NCAA Tournament and, as you may have noticed, it’s a different place. This is a city that is – you should pardon the expression – on the rebound. There was lots to do here in 2014, and there’s even more now. It’s worth taking the…