The money generated by sales — sales tax — belongs to the people who generated it. It is not a political football to be kicked around by this assemblyman or that county executive or this mayor. In the highest-taxed state in the union, when an opportunity presents itself to help the taxpayers, as this does, then it should happen automatically. The best and fairest way to distribute the sales tax would be by city and town on a per capita basis.
That is, the county receives $110 million a year as half of the total eight percent sales tax. Simply enough, $110 million divided by 180,000 people is $611 per county resident. If Kingston has a population of 22,500, that amounts to 0.125 percent of the $110 million, or $13.75 million a year that belongs to the people of the City of Kingston every year. This formula works for the towns also. New York State recently lost two seats in Congress because our population is in decline. The main reason for the exodus is excessive taxation at every level of government in the state and its counties, so if “basic fairness” is still to be considered, it doesn’t get any fairer than this and the overcomplication of the math and its verbiage makes it appear to be an act of deception.
Charles Landi, Kingston
I am sharing with you a letter I emailed today to the Kingston Common Council.
I write to voice my disappointment and shock at how the Law and Rules Committee addressed the matter of revising Kingston’s gun law. Given how the Common Council had emphatically voted to send the matter back to the committee for vetting, it’s inexplicable that the three members of that committee would so blatantly abdicate that responsibility and immediately turn around to support a proposed law without doing any such vetting. Where was the research, the study, the weighing of interests including health, safety, property values, location (away from places of worship, schools and children’s activities), and economic impact (including business development and tourism)? It’s readily apparent from the actions of the three aldermen who voted for the proposed law that this is not about putting in place a well thought-out law that takes into account and balances the interests of all the residents of Kingston, but rather is designed to support the proposed gun range without any regard for the consequences. Their actions demonstrate a failure in their duties to their constituents and to the city. I hope the rest of the council will take their responsibilities more seriously and send the proposal back to committee or in the alternative, vote no!
Let me be clear — I am not anti-gun or gun ranges. I understand the economics and the need for training. For me it’s about putting in place a law that makes sense and that includes taking into account location. The question is how to best craft and implement a change in gun law to serve the citizens. And this is where the committee failed in its mission. The Law and Rules Committee was charged to thoroughly examine the matter of legalizing gun use, taking into account not only the issues raised by the public, but how any such changes to the gun law will impact the city and its residents. And it is clear that no such vetting took place. To the contrary, the committee who voted for the proposed law ignored efforts by the other members to engage in such an examination. On a basic level:
- Was any thought given to looking at how other municipalities have enacted such laws?
- Was any weight or thought given to the best location for such ranges as it related to places of worship, schools, residences, certain types of commercial businesses?
- Was any research done as to the health risks associated with indoor ranges (including those with air purification systems)?
- Was any research done on how the presence of gun ranges impacts the neighborhood in terms of real estate values, home ownership, attracting or deterring other businesses?
As should be evident to all, Midtown (after many years) is finally in a revitalization stage. People are moving in, setting up businesses, investing in the community. It is clear that the addition of a gun range will impact that development. And it’s also clear that the impact will be negative. As we are also aware, Dr. Soyer is only proposing a range for the Prince Street location because that is where his medical practice was located. He didn’t meet with a consultant, review a map of the city and then objectively evaluate where the best location for a gun range would be. His focus is his economic gain — nothing else. The city, however, has far different interests than Dr. Soyer. Moreover, and this is something for the council to consider seriously, if his practice had been on Pearl Street, Fair Street, Lucas Avenue by Washington, Main Street or in any other neighborhood, would this matter has been handled or voted on in the same manner? I think not.
I look to you to do your duties and satisfy the responsibilities you have to the city and its residents. I respectfully request that you send the proposed revision back to the Committee and specifically charge them to address certain questions about health, safety, real estate and location. Or in the alternative, I ask that you vote no.
Neil B. Millens, Kingston
Grateful for Gibson
I was very disappointed to learn that Congressman Chris Gibson has decided not to run for governor of New York State, in spite of previously announcing that he will not run for a fourth term as our congressman in the 19th District.
Congressman Gibson is a very special person who puts service and country above self and personal gain. He would have made a wonderful governor. Before entering politics, Congressman Gibson was a decorated hero, serving in the Army for 24 years and rising to the rank of colonel.
As our congressman, he displayed courage in taking stands that he felt were best for his constituents and his country regardless of their popularity. The congressman has served the citizens of our district well — regardless of political party.
I have gotten to know the congressman beginning when he was there fighting for all of us who were devastated by hurricanes Irene and Sandy. I have seen the congressman’s dedication and hard work first hand.
Congressman …good luck in your future endeavors and the best to your lovely wife Mary Jo and your three wonderful children.
God bless you, and thank you for your dedicated service to your friends, to your district and to your country.
Frank Guido, Kingston