>Wasteful spending by IDAs needs to stop immediately
I am grateful to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt for drawing our attention to the current failures and wasteful spending that characterize industrial development agency awarding of tax breaks to corporations that simply ask for them ("Hoyt preparing IDA reform bill," May 18 Buffalo News).
In 2005, the last year for which we have data, Western New York IDAs handed out $39 million in tax exemptions, with 59 percent of that coming from Erie County. According to the 1969 law that created IDAs, their purpose is "economic development through job growth."
However, the state comptroller reports that of those companies that received our $39 million, 33 percent did not meet their job creation targets; 7 percent did not create any new jobs; and 28 percent actually cut jobs. Yet there is no system in place that makes those corporations accountable for their failure. They get to keep the money and ask for more next time.
Clearly the system is broken and reform is badly needed immediately. This massive corporate welfare, far from creating the jobs it promises, has simply stolen money from taxpayers already burdened with mortgages, tuitions and car payments. It's time to stop handing out tax breaks with no strings attached.
>Christians must do more to support their churches
I'm responding to the May 28 letter, "WNY Catholics need to start living their faith." I will not comment regarding the selling of the bishop's residence because I'm not a Catholic. However, I feel the writer was absolutely right in stating that this is a Band-Aid approach to resolving the problem and that after the proceeds of the sale of the mansion are gone, the problem of people not supporting their churches would still not be resolved.
I think this is a problem facing all Christians, regardless of their denomination. The decline in worshippers in all churches is a very sad situation. We can thank our lawmakers for supporting the rights of the outspoken people who feel that there should be separation of church and state. The founders of our country believed in God and stated so in early documents that formed our government.
Those who oppose the use of God's name on things that are public are trampling on the rights of Christians. I think it is high time that Christians started showing we want our churches to be strong symbols of what we believe in, and that can be done through attendance and financial support.
>Founders never endorsed blind allegiance to leader
This is in response to a recent letter that characterized Democrats as being ignorant of the true meaning of Memorial Day because they don't fall in line with President Bush. That kind of super patriotism and genuine patriotism are two different things. One involves great amounts of empty spectacle and forced conformity, while another gets to the heart of what democracy is really about: actually meeting the people's needs.
For years now we've been told that if you doubt Bush, you're hurting soldiers. At best, the president has used soldiers as a shallow pro-war slogan. At worst, he's employed them as human shields to deflect any sort of criticism for his failures. Citizens who engage in any sort of dissent have been branded traitors. Segments of the population have been scapegoated as being anti-American, all in the name of supposed unity. For many, this Memorial Day was a sad event. Not only have U.S. soldiers and Iraqi people died or suffered terrible injuries, but the nation remains divided despite the administration's attempts to compel unanimity on the faltering war policy.
What should truly be a cause for weeping is not the fact that people resist supporting a corrupt administration; it's the notion that patriotism has become synonymous with blind allegiance. The founding fathers' concept of America was not a nation where the government has no accountability and its citizens no voice. Absolute rule runs contrary to the very definition of a democracy.
>Postage fee is minor, all things considered
In response to the complaint that a 40-cent postage fee would be added to the office fee of a patient receiving a mailed prescription to the pharmacy of his choosing: Would it be less expensive for the writer to pick up the prescription from the doctor's office, drive it to the pharmacy and wait for it to be filled?
All things considered, I think 40 cents is a bargain.
Katherine Rogala, R.N.
>Don't use state money to renovate Hyatt Hotel
Public funding for the Hyatt Regency Hotel is all that is wrong with the state of New York. The Hyatt sits right next to the Convention Center and in the middle of the financial center of Buffalo and the Theater District. Normal depreciation expense of the hotel business should provide the necessary funds for renovation over time. There is surely something wrong with a situation where a hotel, adjacent to a convention center, cannot make enough money to refurbish itself.
If the state has to step in with public funding for a private enterprise, maybe the enterprise should not be there in the first place. It is quite possible that Buffalo is not a convention town. Lawmakers should stop trying to manage the economy. They should lower taxes (and government) instead, to give the economy a chance to flourish on its own. We learned from Eastern Europe that a state cannot manage an economy.
On a positive note, it is great to see some local leaders pushing for the demolition of the old AM&A's building. It's too bad the team that imploded the medical building on High Street couldn't have stuck around for a few more weeks to do the job on Main Street.
>Simple things are never easy in New York State
While reading the May 30 My View about the travails the writer was having trying to get a copy of his birth certificate, I was thinking of my own experience. I, too, needed a copy of my birth certificate, but I was born in Pennsylvania. I called my aunt and asked her to get an address where I could write for a copy. She went to her state senator's office and was given a form for me to fill out.
I mailed it back to her, at her insistence, and she took it back to the senator's office. Within two weeks, I had two copies of my birth certificate plus a letter from the senator's secretary saying she was glad to be of service and stating that there would be no charge because I was a veteran! And we wonder why people are leaving New York State.
Anthony L. Porzio Sr.