The Rural Patriot

October 27, 2006

149th NYS Assembly Debate 10/24/06 (Part 2)

Part 1

Wind generation for Cattaraugus County and NY State?

Joe Giglio: I am in favor of alternate fuels here in Catt. Co. It might be the way to go. We should get it up and running.

Linda Witte: I would like to support it, but it needs to be something that farmers are a part of. It is frustrating when government comes in and makes decisions that comes back to us and says “why are you complaining?”. Zoning laws must be updated, but it has to be done carefully. You have to take into consideration the people you are going to affect. I support it with the people’s involvement.


Low Milk prices and rising productivity costs. How to help dairy farmers?

Joe Meische:  Speaking from experience; people in this country are getting tired of growth hormones and antibiotics being put into their food. Organic farmers are doing better now than ever before. There are people in this country who are willing to buy higher-priced organic products. He again relayed relationship of biofuels and the local area.

Warren Schmidt:  Randy Kuhl has supported the idea of trying to cap the price of milk for the sale; North East Milk Compact; protecting farmers in NY by regulating prices.

***************

Joe Giglio: The Workers Compensation system in NY is broken. Problem is getting others to agree on how to fix it. Needs to come up with a viable plan. It hurts commerce here in NY. Business and labor are not meeting in the middle.

Linda Witte: Same problem as the health insurance. Administrators at the top are well paid. Need to do it rationally; the cost of doing business here (is affected). the person paying the compensation for the workers is at a different rate than in a big city. It is not “across the board”. Not just one size fits all.

How can you get Albany to preserve open spaces?

Linda Witte: You need someone from the rural area; part of our attraction is the beauty here. The bureaucracy in NYC doesn’t understand that we want them to be respectful of our land. Zoning laws need to be re-addressed.

Joe Giglio: I have suggested items to protect open space. They don’t realize what goes on here. They should all get on a bus (and drive) down 86 and back on 90. They are starting to understand that we have different needs than they do.

Timber Tax – Assessed as real property, or treated as a crop?

Joe Giglio:  Timber should not be approached as a land (appraisal?); only when it is a crop and harvested.

Linda Witte: This goes back to protecting open spaces; forestry. We have to educate people at the other end of the state; taxes are a hindering our economy and hurting the Southern Tier.

Do your have farm experience/worked on a farm?

Joe Giglio: Yes

Warren Schmidt:  (speaking for Rep. Kuhl) No, but I’m not sure.

Joe Meische:  (speaking for Eric Massa) His father was an immigrant, and performed farming. Massa has educated himself on the core wine industry.

Linda Witte: Yes, and she then relayed her farm experience through family background.

Funding to region instead of to NYC

Joe Giglio:  We fought hard for money for this year. We will continue to fight. They are not always willing to send money here.

Linda Witte:  One of the tings to do is send someone who has something in common with the majority party. You have to press the issue that one size does not fit all. We have to look at the region; proposal for a local economic board – someone experienced in the local economy – and then put money in the projects that these people deem important.

Rural schools – more disadvantaged?

Linda Witte:  School funding should be per student, not per location. Wealthy districts get more. Our kids’ future depends on it. We will be exporting our most precious commodity. I want them to have a choice of whether they stay here or leave.

Joe Giglio:  There is more funding for education than ever before in this year’s funding. It is true that we have less money in rural areas. We need to work closer with the school boards. One of the proposals is to have them have a two-year budget – contingency budget – for when prices rise, they can’t cope because the budget was already in place.

End of Part 2

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