Crunch time in local budget preparations as federal relief legislation stalls

As the leaves turn and the weather gets colder local governments in New York State shift into high gear in preparations for their 2021 budgets.  The leaves on the trees will look a lot nicer than those budgets.

Reduced business activity continues to cut substantially into local sales tax revenues, a major part of local budget funding.  Some government fee collections will also be affected as well as the payment of property taxes.  Things are better than they were in April and May, but pandemic restrictions on business activities make it likely that the situation will not improve a whole lot over the next several months, into 2021.

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Losers and suckers …

By Steve Banko

Originally published in the Buffalo News

Losers and suckers …

I can’t say this is the first time I’ve been classified thusly.  It is, though, the first time I’ve heard those terms in a while. The first time was on my first trip home from Vietnam. Two bullets had shattered my knee and I was making my way through the Greyhound station in Boston in 1969 when a young girl spit at me and said the VC should have finished me off.

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Some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets

Six weeks to go until Election Day.  Early voting started in Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming this past weekend.  In eight days the federal government will run out of money.  The first presidential debate is next week.  Just four-plus weeks until the start of early voting in New York.  The election cannot come soon enough. 

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The 2020 Census is coming to an end; Buffalo is lagging in self-responses

The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 2 says “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons…  The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States [1789], and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

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Remember reality of climate crisis when casting vote

By Paul Fisk, Editor, Politics and Other Stuff

My friends in politically progressive groups look at me somewhat askance when I admit I’m now focused on climate change more than the election.

They correctly point out that little will get accomplished on the climate crisis without a national regime change, and that our immediate focus should be on getting out the vote. Quite true, but it’s equally important to remind voters that after Donald Trump and COVID-19 we will still be faced with a climate crisis that continued to approach with increasing rapidity and severity as we diverted our attention to “more immediate” problems.

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SAM, we hardly knew ‘ya

Changes are coming in the New York Election Law that will adjust the landscape politicos have known for many years.  The changes will make some people happy, and others angry – very, very angry.

The state law sets out the terms under which official political parties are created and continue to exist.  New York being New York, the process is byzantine, used by many, understood by few.

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