Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 25

first_imgAlso, there’s an excellent lunch program at the Niskayuna Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with bus rides by the town of Niskayuna. Most of the program activities are similar at those sites and include physical exercise, Bridge, Mah Jong, theater, day trips, museum trips and more.Seniors, please join us to change your surroundings, make new friends and socialize with women and men in similar situations.Lay off the iPad and cell phone for awhile and have fun with your peers in an enjoyable atmosphere.Ted VinickNiskayunaEditor’s note: For a full listing of senior activities see The Daily Gazette Saturday edition. Find alternatives to landfilling our junkOnce or twice a year, residents of Scotia-Glenville put their unwanted items on the curb. Much of it truly is garbage. But a lot of it is useful, such as furniture, kitchenware, clothing, shoes, blankets and books, all in decent condition, just no longer wanted by the resident. One of the underlying reasons behind these disparities is the quality of education each community receives.School districts that consist of a population that has more disposable income will generally receive more funding than those in areas with poorer populations. As a result, you end up with drastic differences in the quality of education given to young students.One of the most effective ways to provide more equal educational opportunities is to reorganize our tax system so that there is equal funding of education across the entire region.This will offer better opportunities for those growing up in the lower-income communities in this region and improve equality amongst races.Anthony AmatoDelmar Or: “I chose to terminate this pregnancy.”Having the ability to choose allows a woman to make a decision based on her needs and her beliefs. Any woman in this situation should be given all the options, all the consequences.Those passing these laws do not know a woman’s circumstances. These laws are a giant step backwards in women’s rights.Put the focus back on a woman’s right to choose.Deborah BenderSchoharie More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18 Because we did not have an appointment, for “safety reasons” we were not allowed up to Gillibrand’s office, even though we had just gone through the security checkpoint.A staff member spoke with us in the lobby. She assured us that Gillibrand was indeed as concerned with this issue “as if these were her own children.” She promised to contact us. None of us have heard back from her.When four of us refused to leave, we were arrested and charged with a violation.We were sent notices to appear on May 14 at the federal courthouse. The notices were postmarked April 15. When we arrived, court personnel informed us that there were no court proceedings for that day; the case had been dismissed on April 9.None of us was notified, including our attorney, who had been in contact twice with the court. This is the “right of the people to peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” in our government today.Linda LeTendreSaratoga Springs OTB rewards casino at expense of othersA recent article, “OTB to offer better payout at Casino,” explained how the casino gained special demonstration project status and thus could waive the 5 percent surcharge that is collected on winnings at other OTB parlors and outlets.Outlets, by the way, are non-OTB parlors such as bars that have OTB betting machines on premises. It stimulates business for these local establishments and helps them survive. The one that comes to my mind immediately is Boulevard Bowl, located on Erie Boulevard, a mere half mile down the road from the casino. I understand that its three OTB horse betting machines generate enough revenue to make it one of the area’s largest non-OTB parlors in operation.Other than being punitive in nature, I don’t understand the thinking of OTB officials. Why would they want to penalize a local business, one that has supported OTB for years, just because it’s down the road from the casino?In fact, why would they want to penalize any of the other non-parlors either?Gerald DeAngelusSchenectady Modify tax system to promote equalityIt may not come as a surprise to find out that racial inequality is a major issue in this country. However, it’s to some degree even worse in the Capital Region than in the country as a whole.For instance, 69 percent of white people living in the Capital Region own a house, while only 27 percent of African-Americans do.Considering the fact that on a national scale, 48 percent of African-Americans own a house, it seems clear that the situation is already worse here. Many of the African-Americans living here don’t have access to as nearly as many opportunities as Caucasians or Asians do. Newborns surviving abortions deserve care For some years, many of the usable items are picked up and brought to new homes. In other years, the weather does not cooperate, and our neighborhoods are littered with once-perfectly good items that are warping, rotting and molding, and now unusable by anyone.Many of us worry about climate change and do our best to recycle. But we don’t often consider the effects of ‘big garbage day,’ other than the relief of finally clearing out the basement.Yet, I think we can do better. For example, the town and village boards could coordinate a ‘swap meet’ day, like the village coordinates the village-wide garage sale. It would require more effort and commitment than hauling things out to the curb, but it is an idea worth talking about.I suggest this not because our neighborhoods become unsightly for a period of time, and not only because our friends and neighbors may need our usable discards. That wet and warped chest of drawers cannot be recycled; it will go to a landfill. But that cannot be counted on. We are looking at a landfill crisis in the not-too-distant future. The last municipal landfill on Long Island will close when it reaches capacity in 2024. There will not be a new one. Where will all the garbage go?Joan FucilloGlenville In a day when science is questioned or ignored both by our political leaders and some citizens, it’s important for all to remember the benefits we enjoy because of the work of scientists of all disciplines of the past. And it’s important we honor those young scientists in our schools today who will become the scientists, doctors and engineers who contribute to the betterment of humankind in the future.My special thanks to all at Regeneron for providing the opportunity for me to attend the Science Talent Search awards banquet this year, albeit by lucky coincidence and a thoughtful son.John FisherPattersonville The highest levels of government and greatest legal minds debate the far=reaching ramifications of our New York Reproductive Health Act.The Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House repeatedly vote down legislation that would require doctors to provide medical care to babies born alive after botched abortion.The Democratic Party at the state and national levels coordinate efforts to deny medical care to these newborns. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act repealed New York Public Health Law section 4164 that specifically required doctors to provide medical care to newborn babies who survive abortion. The former law stated: “When an abortion is to be performed after the twentieth week of pregnancy, a physician other than the physician performing the abortion shall be in attendance to take control of and to provide immediate medical care for any live birth that is the result of the abortion.”Gov. Cuomo effectively deleted this law. New York no longer requires doctors to provide basic medical care for newborns who survive abortion. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would support this measure. Why remove laws protecting abortion survivors? What is their motive?The cold truth is that Democrats want every abortion guaranteed. Whether the baby is killed in utero by successful abortion, or taken out of the mother and denied medical care, the abortionist will complete the job. We, as Americans, have sunk to a new level of depravity. We must demand Cuomo protect all newborns and change this law.Jennifer RichardsBurnt Hills Women should have the right to chooseWith all these states passing legislation to limit or ban abortions, all women should be worried what other restrictions the governments will be putting on what women do.The focus is on women having an abortion. But what the focus should be on is a woman’s right to choose. As a woman, I want the ability to say, “I’m going to have this child. I want any medical procedure that will ensure this child is born healthy.”Or : “I will have this child and since I don’t feel I can care for it and bring it up the way it deserves, I will give him or her up for adoption.”center_img Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionGillibrand office not open to protestersOn March 28, five citizens tried to address the situation of migrant children being separated from their families when they come to the United States requesting asylum. This is our experience in attempting to work with our government.We tried twice to set up a meeting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to ask what was being done to stop this. We never received a return call. We went to the Leo O’Brien federal building to ask in person to meet with her staff. I want to thank Ellis Hospital, the CI Floor, for taking such good care of me during the Easter week.The three shifts of nurses, both women and young men, were always in my room when I rang. They said I was part of the family and it made me feel special. I’m home with my family now.Thank you all for such special care.Theresa LezziSchenectady Schoharie holds on to too much tax moneyWhy is the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors seemingly so unconcerned that County Administrator Steve Wilson has supported charging taxpayers millions more in property taxes than is needed to fund county government operations?As county treasurer, I recently issued a report that revealed that Wilson has been increasing tax rates while at the same time accumulating an unwarranted, bloated fund balance.Given our $80 million annual budget, the appropriate amount for Schoharie County to have in reserve is $10 million. That target threshold meets the state comptroller guidelines and has been sanctioned by numerous independent audits during my 24 years in office. Take advantage of programs for seniorsAs a senior, aged 97, living alone, I have found comfort and companionship in senior lunch programs. Jewish Community Center, Catholic Charities on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, with food at the J.C.C. and bus transportation by Catholic Charities. These are both offered at reasonable cost for a round-trip ride, door to door. Members who live with family or an aide are welcome to bring them. Honor contributions of scientists as wellThe juxtaposition of the articles on Madison VanDenburg and Bob King on page E1 of the May 19 Sunday Gazette brings to mind a powerful message I heard from the speakers at the Science Talent Search finals banquet sponsored by Regeneron in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.The gist of the message was that as much as we applaud and enjoy the performances of young students like Ms. VanDenburg, the real superstars of the next generation will be the students of science who will go on to solve great problems the world faces today. Many like Bob King did not enjoy the celebrity of the great performers of their generation, but their contributions to society will continue well into the future. Writer got Mother Jones review correctKudos to Bill Buell on his writeup of “Mother Jones In Heaven.”His piece in the May 16 Ticket accurately described the quality musical that was performed at the Cohoes Music Hall by Vivian Nesbitt that evening. It accurately portrayed the story of Mother Jones, whom one judge tabbed, “the most dangerous woman in America.”Carol and Steve ZahurakSchenectady Grateful for care from Ellis Hospital CI floor Use fair trade deal to support FEMA effortsAll relationships are built on the foundation of compromise. Happily married couples will confirm this fact.However, we are now engaged in another dubious bully pulpit. The current presidential administration needs to negotiate a compromise trade deal with China that will ultimately benefit both nations.Our legislative body should collectively put its shoulders to the wheel and place that pot of trade savings into the inundated FEMA budget. FEMA is dealing with historical flooding, wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes nationwide.Help those devastated communities and individuals most in need.Patrick StephanMiddle Grove Madigan has the best experience for FinanceWant to know who to support for Saratoga Springs city finance commissioner in the June 25 Democratic primary? Simply decide on who you can trust to keep Saratoga Springs financially healthy and a great place to live.Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan has seven-plus years of experience proving she can: develop and manage a $48 million general operating budget, a daunting task for a financial neophyte; manage several other city budgets; increase rainy-day reserves by another $1.2 million just this year; save over $300,000 yearly by negotiating health care costs (without reducing benefits to our city employees); increase already-high bond ratings by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s; work with all of our elected officials to smartly allocate funds to deliver needed city services; and keep our taxes level for her eight budgets after years of increases under previous commissioners of finance.Let’s not risk the city’s financial well-being by giving this pivotal responsibility over to an inexperienced financial newcomer.Let’s be smart and let’s be safe. On June 25, vote in the Democratic primary to keep Commissioner Madigan at the financial helm of our city.Tammy HaarmanSaratoga Springs Scotia needs to crack down on businessThe weather is finally warming. My wife and I would now like to open our sunroom windows or sit on our front porch in relative peace. Unfortunately this isn’t possible most days.It seems our neighbor is allowed by the village to operate a yard-care and equipment-repair business from his garage. So virtually every day including Sundays, we are subjected to equipment motors running, the rattling of a commercial-size trailers coming and going several times a day, as well as other businesses’ equipment being dropped off and picked up. No days off on Riverside Avenue.I have written letters of complaint to several village officers, including the mayor, regarding this issue. To date, no action has been taken.It was suggested that we petition other neighbors to possibly have some action taken. I found this to be an unreasonable requirement. As a resident of a neighborhood zoned for residential use only, I have reported this. It seems that the village should now enforce its own zoning restrictions.So with the village of Scotia unable or unwilling to enforce its zoning and with an arrogance of knowing nothing will be done, the business continues and our windows remain closed.John EatonScotia But Wilson has surreptitiously squirreled away millions more than is necessary.By steadily raising tax rates, Wilson has now amassed a $20 million hoard of taxpayer money, with no plan in place as to how it should be used.In a brazen attempt to defend himself against my charges of poor fiscal management, Wilson hijacked the contents of my financial analysis as his own.With a straight face and a few misleading PowerPoint slides, he recently tried to convince the Board of Supervisors that the county actually needs even more money socked away. Incredibly, he implied that a fund balance of $40 million might be perfectly reasonable.No supervisor cared enough to publicly question Wilson’s logic or to investigate further.As county treasurer, I have always been a strong advocate for adequate, but not excessive, reserves. The latter is an unnecessary and irresponsible burden on taxpayers.William CherryCobleskillThe writer is the Schoharie County Treasurer.last_img read more

I’m receiving more offers now that 10 years ago — Ibrahimovic

first_imgRelatedPosts Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Juve’s Pirlo gamble makes new Serie A season the most open for years Pirlo bags UEFA coaching badge Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is more in demand at the age of 38 than he was 10 years ago and is adapting his game as he gets older. The Swedish forward said this as he was officially presented by AC Milan on Friday. Ibrahimovic has rejoined the club he left seven years ago for a six-month stint, with an option to extend his stay. But there are questions over how much impact he can have on the fallen giants who are languishing in 11th in Serie A. In their last match, AC Milan produced a pitiful display as they were thumped 5-0 at Atalanta, their joint-heaviest Serie A defeat. Ibrahimovic helped AC Milan win their last major trophy, the Serie A title in 2010/2011. He left to join Paris St-Germain the following year in a move that he said on Friday was against his will. The Swede has been a free agent since leaving Los Angeles Galaxy in November. “At 38, I have received more offers than at 28,” he told reporters. “The last time I left AC Milan, it was without my approval. But the situation was what it was… The important thing is that I am here now”. Ibrahimovic said he still had passion for football but had learned to adapt with age. “Each year is different. Physically you change with every year that goes by,” he added. “But experience teaches you to do things differently. If you’re an intelligent player, you know what you can and cannot do… Instead of running, I can shoot from long distance”. The forward however promised he would not go easy on his younger team mates. “I’m meaner than before,” he said. “They know what I am like, how I train and play each match. “You have to work hard. You have to know how to suffer, otherwise you don’t reach your maximum potential. “Not everyone likes to suffer but I do… and I expect a lot from my team mates.” AC Milan’s next match is at home to Sampdoria in Serie A on Monday. There was however no mention of whether Ibrahimovic, who has not played since October, would make his debut that quickly.Tags: AC MilanSerie AZlatan Ibrahimoviclast_img read more

Stoke close to Wollscheid deal

first_img Press Association The Potters have shaken hands with their Bundesliga counterparts on an agreement that would see 25-year-old Germany international Wollscheid switch for the rest of the season. “It is a deal that is likely to happen and we are likely to see him here early next week I would suggest,” said Hughes, quoted on www.stokecityfc.com on Sunday evening. “He has superb quality and in my opinion he is a very good footballer, so we are very pleased to have agreed the terms of the deal. “He has moved for decent money in the past and he has played for the reigning world champions, so he has real good pedigree.” Speaking more generally about January transfer window plans in his post-match press conference after Stoke’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Wrexham, Hughes added: “In terms of spending huge amounts of money, we don’t anticipate that is going to happen in January. “We will just see what is out there. If something makes sense, and we think it will help us, we will pursue it if we’ve got the means to.” With regard to potential outgoings, Tony Pulis taking over as West Brom head coach has prompted talk of the former Stoke boss trying to lure some of Hughes’ players to the Hawthorns this month. Among those is striker Peter Crouch, who Pulis signed for Stoke in 2011 and is currently on a contract with them that runs out in the summer. The Potters are looking to keep Crouch on, but reports have suggested contract negotiations have stalled between the two parties. When asked about the tall frontman being linked with Albion, Hughes said: “There is an obvious connection, so people do the sums and two and two make five. “There is a willingness from our point of view in that we want to make Peter happy that he is content here for the next two or three years, or however long it is that his future is with us. “Those are the conversations we are going to have with him and it’s up to us to make sure we get something in front of Peter that he is happy with.” center_img Stoke boss Mark Hughes expects the club to soon wrap up the loan signing of defender Philipp Wollscheid from Bayer Leverkusen.last_img read more

LA Lakers take steps back with 109-97 loss to Dallas

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One of the more popular people in Los Angeles took his dream job fielding no expectations on how short or long his rebuilding project would take.With Luke Walton guiding the Lakers to their best start in three years, however, he liked the early returns on his players’ work ethic, team mindset and ability to collect some upset victories. Nonetheless, Walton still held concerns, mindful that his foundation has not yet had time for the cement to dry.Hence, the Lakers’ 109-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Staples Center should not be that surprising. Walton found the team “played a little soft in the first half.” Lakers forward Julius Randle decried the team “didn’t have a killer instinct.” In other words, the Lakers (4-4) snapped a three-game winning streak and an unbeaten mark at home because of usual growing pains attributed to young teams.“We have to forget about it,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “The wins that we got, we talked about it that day, got over it and prepared for the next one. It’s the same thing with these losses. If we lose, get over it and prepare the best way you can for the next one.” “That’s a very well-coached and disciplined team that runs sets every time they’re down court,” Walton said. “It’s definitely harder to guard.”Meanwhile, the Lakers also took a step back offensively after previously ranking third overall in total points per game (110.3) and featuring five different players that have led the team in scoring.Jordan Clarkson (22 points), Nick Young (20 ), Lou Williams (15 points), Randle (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Russell (12 points, seven assists, five rebounds) still gave the Lakers some balanced offense. But Walton found the Lakers’ ball movement stopped against Dallas’ zone defense. Young faded after scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Russell also went scoreless in the first half and took only one shot, though he attributed that more to defensive coverages.“If they’re open, I try to make that pass,” Russell said. “If not, I try to attack.”The Lakers will try to do the same thing, intent on making Walton happy with their progress despite their latest hiccup.center_img Despite the Mavericks (2-5) nursing key injuries to Deron Williams (left calf strain), Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) and Devin Harris (right toe strain), Walton considered Dallas “more dangerous for the short term” because the depleted rotation provided a “great opportunity for players that are hungry to play and earn minutes to prove they should be getting in the rotation.”Walton still remembered how the Lakers lost Game 6 in their first-round matchup against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 playoffs despite Raja Bell’s one-game suspension. It still stayed fresh in his mind that the Lakers upset the Golden State Warriors last year when he served as an assistant there while Kobe Bryant sat out with an injury.This time, the Mavericks gave the Lakers problems by exposing something still prevalent during their recent progress. The Lakers allowed five players to crack double-figures, including Harrison Barnes (31 points), Seth Curry (22 points), Justin Anderson (11 points) and Dwight Powell (10 points). The Lakers committed 16 turnovers. And the Lakers decried the absence of forward Larry Nance Jr. because of a concussion.“He does all the little things and we could’ve used that tonight,” Randle said. “We can definitely take that for granted.”Nonetheless, those developments exposed the Lakers’ early weaknesses thus far. They entered Tuesday’s game allowing 108 points per contest and ranking last in the NBA in turnovers (18).last_img read more

July is Smart Irrigation Month in Olympia

first_imgFacebook2Tweet0Pin0Submitted by City of OlympiaJuly is Smart Irrigation Month in Olympia! Lawns and landscapes are typically overwatered by up to 30 percent, contributing to shallow roots, weed growth and disease. The City of Olympia’s Water Conservation Program is encouraging water customers to cut their irrigation water waste. By watering wisely, maintaining and upgrading automated irrigation systems, consumers can save money and help protect our drinking water resources for future generations.The City’s Water Conservation Program offers residential water customers a $200 rebate on the installation of a “smart” controller for in-ground irrigation systems. Smart controllers automatically adjust watering times based on weather conditions to provide optimal moisture for healthy plants and landscapes, while conserving water. Customers who water with a hose-end sprinkler can benefit from a FREE hose watering timer.City of Olympia commercial water customers may be eligible for a rebate of up to $3500 on efficient irrigation system upgrades, including spray nozzle retrofits, smart controller upgrades and drip irrigation conversions.The City’s efficient irrigation consultant says, “Olympia has made it easy for commercial customers and irrigation contractors to get rebates for installing efficient sprinkler nozzles, controllers with conservation features, and other water saving equipment. The rebate process is simple for most items, and the rebate amounts are generous enough that customers can start saving money right away.”Visit www.olympiawa.gov/waterwise for Smart Irrigation Month incentives, rebate applications, resources and tips on how you can join your fellow neighbors and get smart about irrigation!Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation.For more information, contact the City of Olympia Water Conservation Program at 360.753.8271 or waterwise@ci.olympia.wa.us.last_img read more

Many AL MPs will face hurdles if BNP joins polls Muhith

first_imgFinance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith. Photo: Prothom AloFinance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has criticised some members of parliament of the ruling Awami League for extortion, saying the voters may teach them a ‘good lesson’ in the next parliamentary election.In an interview with Prothom Alo, he candidly said that the country’s banking sector is not in a good shape and that corruption and bribery existed in the society.The finance minister talked at length about the country’s politics and economy at the office of Bangladesh’s alternative executive director at the World Bank on 15 October where he was attending the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC from 11 to 16 October.The interview taken by Prothom Alo’s Fakhrul Islam is rewritten in English by Taib Ahmed and Shameem RezaGeneral electionsProthom Alo: What would you say about the next general elections slated to be held in late 2018?Muhith: I’m very optimistic that BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia will join the polls. Others of her party would join the elections even if she didn’t. I don’t think others in her party would take such foolish decision as boycotting the polls. It’s better if they join the polls. If they do, there will be a good contest and many of our MPs would have to face serious hurdles to win the polls, because many of our MPs are oppressive and dishonest. They take money from people through various means, although I would not call it bribery.Prothom Alo: Do all of them indulge in this dishonesty?Muhith: Many of them do so. I personally know some of them. They will be taught a good lesson if the elections are held in a competitive manner.Prothom Alo: You mean, they will get a good lesson only during the elections, not before!Muhith: They will be taught a lesson even before that. The leader [prime minister Sheikh Hasina] is personally enquiring about them. They will not get nomination in the next polls. I think many new faces would come to join the next general elections.Prothom Alo: Many MPs are often heard saying that they have no accountability towards the people as they are not elected through people’s votes.Muhith: Yes, I too personally know several such MPs.Banking SectorProthom Alo: Another much-talked-about issue is the condition of the banking sector. It is not running smoothly. Certain people are looting the sector.Muhith: This is true. The banking sector is not running well. State-owned banks are our main weakness. There are irregularities in the private banks as well. But, the number of loan defaulters in state-owned banks is higher. There are reasons behind this. These banks provide finance as per directives of the government. Loan recovery is in a bad shape there.Prothom Alo: You say the banking sector is not doing well. So what is the central bank doing about it?Muhith: The central bank has less authority over the state-owned banks than the government. We, however, are thinking of relaxing the control of the government. We are thinking of a three or five-year plan. It is true that we haven’t taken any significant step against the loan default culture.Prothom Alo: There are suggestions that the central bank should have equal control over all the banks. This is also a global practice.Muhith: The suggestions are right. But some banks will have to be closed down if we hand over authority to the central bank alone.Prothom Alo: Does the government, in reality, have anything to do with the state-owned banks except for appointing directors? That too is being done by the board. The government only chooses the directors.Muhith: No, no. It is the government which appoints the directors.Prothom Alo: The government does not check the irregularities in loans. That is a task of the central bank.Muhith: I think the central bank should have a tougher stance in this regard. For example, what several directors of the Social Islami Bank Ltd (SIBL) had done is unwarranted. They had shifted shares worth of Tk 4 billion within a day. I have directed the central bank governor Fazle Kabir to take appropriate action against them.Bribes and corruptionProthom Alo: There are many allegations of bribery and corruption also. Won’t you admit that the degree of bribery and corruption has increased in every sector?Muhith: Yes, the problem of bribery and corruption is there. It’s not insignificant.Prothom Alo: What are the ways to control this? Is dependency on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) a way? Is political will another way?Muhith: Tthe ACC alone is not enough to decrease corruption in the country. Political will is a must. This government does have it. But extensive use of information technology can be a good way to rein in corruption. I can cite the example of MM College in Sylhet. The authorities used to show Tk 800,000 as its income but it increased to Tk 8.1 million after introduction of technology.Prothom Alo: You were a seasoned bureaucrat and have been serving as a cabinet member of a very important ministry. Did anyone try to bribe you to get some works done?Muhith: Yes (laughs). This happened back in 1962. This was about an inland water transport department’s project worth Tk 30 million. I was going to give the allocation to a company named Al Faruq. Then a man of a Japanese company came with an offer. He gave a slip to the chairman of our committee, Rashid. The slip read, if you give the work to us, you also will get a good share. Being a member of the committee, I also was supposed to get a portion of the share.Again, in 1967, one of my ex-bosses at the office offered me bribe. He wanted to import something from Scotland but we were not giving him permission. There were two contesting circles about the work—Ayub Khan’s circle and Yahiya Khan’s circle. He was one of the two circles. He said if you do the task for me I shall help your brother. Since then no one came with bribery offers.Prothom Alo: Any such experience during the Bangladesh period or in the last 8-10 years?Muhith: No. No one is that bold enough!National economy and budgetProthom Alo: How is the economy?Muhith: It’s in a crisis at the moment. A rogue state like Myanmar has launched an attack on us and forced hundreds of thousands of its people to take shelter in our country. Our position is that we cannot but provide shelter to helpless people. Our people had taken shelter in India during the liberation war. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a strong humanitarian position. We will need millions of taka for the Rohingyas and I will take steps to revise the budget once I return home.Prothom Alo: Does the situation revise revision of the budget?Muhith: Yes, I have to revise the development budget (annual development programme). The budget will have to be increased due to the enhanced expenses caused by the Rohingya influx. We had to engage the army and the the relief operations require additional funding.Prothom Alo: From where will the money come when the revenue situation is not very bright?Muhith: I have earlier said that I expect higher collections from the income tax head.Prothom Alo: Have you shifted your focus to income tax failing to implement the new VAT (value added tax) law?Muhith: Not really, there is a decision to implement the VAT law and we’ve partly done it. I am confident we will see higher revenue generation from the VAT sector. However, I am very optimistic about the income tax scenario.Prothom Alo: Why can’t the government realise income tax from all who are capable of paying tax?Muhith: Oh yes, in a country of 160 million people, only 700,000 people pay tax. Still, the current number is 3.3 million, that’s not too bad really.Prothom Alo: The government needs money and there are people who have capacity to pay tax. But the government cannot reach them. How do you explain this failure?Muhith: Of course there failure is, but the job is not so simple either. In all countries there is a tendency to evade tax. And in our case, there is no culture of paying tax.Prothom Alo: The government should put a foolproof system in place.Muhith: I am encouraged that the new generation is interested in paying tax. The tax fair is working. However, it will take time to reach a good position. I think we should have a tax base of 10 million people. I hope that will happen by 2021 and by then the government’s income will increase automatically.Prothom Alo: How do you see the failure in acquiring soft loans from abroad?Muhith: Who said we cannot get soft loan? We cannot utilise such loans. There are pledges of such loans worth US$36 billion that we cannot utilise this. That is our weakness.Prothom Alo: Have your identified reasons of this weakness?Muhith: We did. One of the reasons is the delay in approving the projects.Prothom Alo: Is there any directives from the government in this regard?Muhith: There are. There should be one project director for each project but it is also not followed.PA: We thank you for the interview.Muhith: Thank you, toolast_img read more

Gov Abbotts Goals of CPS Overhaul Budget Cuts In Conflict

first_img Share Courtesy of his website.Texas Governor Greg AbbottGov. Greg Abbott says fixing Texas’ Child Protective Services is a life and death issue. In his State of the State address, Abbott called for an overhaul of CPS, including more money for staff and training.The governor said more than 100 children died last year while under CPS’ care. He warned against skimping on funding the agency, noting that he’d included more money for CPS in his budget than the House or Senate did in theirs.“Do not underfund this rickety system only to have it come back and haunt you in the years to come,” Abbott said.But Abbott also called for budget cuts, all but unavoidable given the drop in oil and gas revenues over the past two years.Tom Oliverson, a Republican representative from Northwest Harris County, says there’s plenty of support on both sides of the aisle for an overhaul of CPS this session. But he says it will be tough to do that while cutting overall spending.“We are going to have figure out creative ways to get all of these things accomplished without breaking the bank,” Oliverson says.Gene Wu, a Democratic representative from Southwest Houston, has similar concerns.“On CPS issues, we’ve been talking a big game for the last year,” Wu says. “Everyone knows that it needs more money. But the question still remains, is the Legislature and the governor going to balk when the numbers that are demanded are actually there and we need to sign on the dotted line?” 00:00 /01:29 X Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more