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The Weekender - February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

Tags: The Weekender

Report from Chatham, Australia (sort of)

The last Weekender column (Feb. 3) explained why Governor Cuomo’s proposed property tax cap would be disastrous for Chatham and the entire state. I promised to offer a superior solution for lowering property taxes, while funding public schools at appropriate levels. That solution will be explained in the next column. However, in the interim, a trip to Australia intervened and my editor agreed that it would be interesting to send back a column from Chatham, Australia exploring the differences and similarities of communities in two hemispheres and separated by more than 11,000 miles. (more…)

The Weekender - February 3, 2011

February 3, 2011

Tags: The Weekender

Property tax cap: Be careful what you wish for

The last Weekender column advocated something rare these days, rooting for elected officials we dislike because our success depends on theirs. But hoping for and helping our electeds to succeed does not usually mean backing a misguided policy, such as new Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for, and prioritization of, a property tax cap.

If narrow short-term benefit predicted who the supporters of a property tax cap would be — weekenders, like myself, would surely rank among the proposal’s biggest champions. Second homeowners have paid rapidly escalating property taxes to support many vital services, foremost schools, which we never use or only modestly utilize. Certainly much less than year rounders. (more…)

Regular contributor to the Sunday "Perspectives" (Editorial) section of Hearst's Albany Times Union with op-eds on government, law and public policy. Read and comment at timesunion.com and on this website. "The Weekender" social commentary column appears on ccSCOOP.com, Columbia County's Home on the Web, and past columns are archived on this website under the Op-Ed button.
Nonfiction
A book about the ground-breaking case that shook the business and legal worlds to their very cores, New York-based law firm Constantine & Partners sought to end a devastating credit monopoly that personally touched millions of consumers. Its efforts culminated in the largest federal antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
Journal of the Plague Year
The March 10, 2008 disclosure that Governor Eliot Spitzer patronized prostitutes shocked admirers around the world who had celebrated him as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" and a likely future president.  Ironically, the author's disillusionment with Spitzer had begun to disappear 15 hours earlier, when Spitzer confessed to him what others would soon learn in a media storm of unprecedented intensity.  Journal of the Plague Year is Constantine's intimate account of the 17 calamitous months preceding the March 2008 revelation and the futile 61 hour battle waged by the author and the governor's wife to persuade Spitzer not to resign, but to instead fulfill promises made to the voters who had elected him in a record landslide.

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