March 30, 2006

Recycle plastics - except #4

The front page of this morning's Ithaca Journal is dominated by an article on the county's expansion of the plastics it will accept for recycling, shifting from plastics coded 1 and 2 to everything from 1 to 7 except 4. (4 includes shopping bags, bread bags, shrink wrap, and margarine tub tops.)

At the state level, it looks like New York's legislature has decided to try to make everyone happy, except those keeping an eye on the state's debt level. I don't often agree with E.J. McMahon, but this quote is perfect:

"They aren't cutting taxes, they are cutting checks," he said. The checks that will be sent to taxpayers in the fall will come at election time for every seat in the Legislature.

Also potentially unhappy are counties, many of which will unexpectedly lose the sales tax on clothing and shoes under $110, and the rest, including Tompkins, will likely face pressure to abolish theirs. (That's only in the print edition of the Journal.) The Journal's editorial worries about some of the spending, though it concludes that "compared to the heady days of the late 1990s, when the state not only spent surplus cash like the proverbial drunken sailor but tacked on lots of debt to boot, Albany deserves some credit for avoiding the urge for unbridled madness." Of course, legislators also "tossed a hefty $170 million into the “member items� fund they each get to distribute in their districts," so we'll be hearing more about slush funds in the future.

I worry that New York State seems to be running in the opposite direction of measures that might promote stability: saving money when it's available to stimulate the state economy during a downturn. Instead, we're spending what we have, plus a bit more, when it looks like we can, and we'll get to cut again when times aren't so good, but people most need help from the state.

There's an item at the bottom of the Journal's online editorial listing state aid to muncipalities from the state. The formatting didn't quite work there, but I think Dryden's pieces should look like:

Municipality2005 aidGov. IncreaseLeg. Increase
Town of Dryden$44,032$1,431$8,791

In letters, Chris Kimball of Dryden writes in to praise the restaurant Watercress and the return of its chef, Hans Butler.

Posted by simon at March 30, 2006 8:14 AM in , ,
Note on photos