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The property tax cap system seems to have worked in Clarence, where residents overwhelmingly rejected the proposed school budget.In place of the nearly 10 percent tax hike that was defeated is a new budget proposal that offers a much more realistic tax increase of 3.79 percent, just under the state tax cap. The revised budget would raise taxes on a $100,000 home by $39 – a…

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So, the federal government has launched a special review of Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority finances. Rather than dreading a visit from the feds, agency officials are looking forward to it.The NFTA has been expressing concern for years about its “continuing economic challenges.” Those challenges are due in part to state funding formulas that are unequal and outda…

New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act was passed back in the mid-1990s so that residents would know if a potentially dangerous sex offender was in their neighborhood. But recent problems in getting that information to residents show the need for changes. News reporter Lou Michel outlined a couple of cases that highlight the problem.In one, Philip M. Gray completed his f…

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It’s truly heartening to watch what is now playing out in an area that for years suffered because a company was focused on its bottom line rather than on protecting nearby residents.Those residents live in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke, which in late March was found guilty of violating the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act over 11 years. The violation…

Despite landmark progress on human rights by New York State, a small group of citizens remains outside the antidiscrimination umbrella.It is no longer legal to discriminate against someone because of age, sex, race, sexual orientation or religion, among other things. But those protections do not extend to transgender New Yorkers – people who do not identify with their birt…

Recent events highlight teachers’ commitmentIn Newtown in December, and now in Oklahoma last week, we have seen reports of teachers and school personnel who have risked their lives, even given their lives, to protect the lives of the children under their care. This has been repeated in other tragic events in schools for years now.While most teachers will probably not have …

By Gerald CumboI applaud Sheriff Timothy Howard’s position that he will not actively enforce most of the misguided provisions of the so-called NY SAFE Act. Howard, like all of us, was appalled by the murder of innocent schoolchildren in Connecticut and also the killing and injuring of first responders in Webster.He surely understands that the former was the result of a men…

Mental health system has many success storiesWhereas the lengthy News article on mental health in a recent edition was accurate, it says nothing about the many individuals with a mental illness who are living well in housing provided by institutions such as Living Opportunities of DePaul and Transitional Services. It does not mention those who maintain a steady road toward…

Will Howard also ignore mandatory revocations?All Erie County residents should be alarmed that Sheriff Timothy Howard has said he will not enforce any provision of the NY SAFE Act. Prior to the SAFE Act, a judge had the option of revoking the pistol permit and guns of someone who was the subject of an order of protection. The SAFE Act made that mandatory instead of just an…

Graduated driver laws help reduce teen crashesMemorial Day marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers. Fatalities due to teen car crashes spike during the summer months. But with education and practice, many of these crashes can be prevented. Parents must remain vigilant – adults play a big role in ensuring that teens are prepared to get beh…

Put politics aside and work togetherFor a president who is working for all of America, he is sure being blamed by the Republican Congress for all of our woes. Maybe if the Republican leaders would work with him, instead of fighting him at every turn, we could get things done. Remember gun control? As for the local radio talk show hosts, come out of your bubble into the rea…

WASHINGTON – To a great extent, Republican investigations into IRS harassment of conservative and tea party tax-exempt organizations that play politics are a bad joke. And the joke is on the average taxpayer back home.The tax-exempt status these outfits obtained was never meant to aid groups engaged in campaigns – to use our tax money to pay for the rough business of elect…

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If ever there was a perfect moment in New York to push for campaign finance reform, including public financing of elections, this is it. Albany has exposed its seamy tendencies so flagrantly over the past few weeks, months and years that voter disgust may finally force lawmakers to act.Pressure is building from a number of directions, including State Comptroller Thomas P. …

The retirement of two top officials at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency creates the opportunity for policy changes at the agency, often criticized for handing out tax breaks to undeserving projects.Former Rep. John J. LaFalce has just ended his 14-month tenure as chairman. Alfred Culliton has led the agency since 2006 and is retiring at the end of this year fr…