• Uplifting Rochester News?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

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  by neroden
 
BR&P wrote:I'm a lifelong NY resident and there are many things I love about the state. But consider this: Our daughter lives in Tennessee. Her father-in-law is into income property. He has some 26 or so parcels - homes and trailers he rents, a 30 or so acre piece of land with a lake and 5 rental houses, his own home, you name it. By comparison, I live in a split level in suburbia up here - 1/3rd acre, a decent house but not fancy by any means. Our daughter's father-in-law pays about one half as much property tax on ALL HIS PROPERTY COMBINED as we pay on our house alone up here. While residential and industrial taxes are not exactly parallel, the general concept should be obvious. And when Mr. Gollisano (sp?), an astute business man, finds he can save over $13,000 a DAY by moving away, doesn't this mirror the concepts in the book that failure to retain producers and enterprise will ultimately result in total collapse?
But of course, in NY we have schools and hospitals. In Tennessee, not so much.

Incidentally, Tennessee now has a higher unemployment rate than NY. And more foreclosures. Easy come, easy go.

NY does have absolutely outrageous property taxes, but this is another matter, related to fanatical anti-income-tax nutters (if we raised the upper-bracket income tax and used the proceeds to lower the property tax, we'd still have relatively low income taxes compared to our neighbors, and probably reap huge benefits, from the economic analysis I've seen).
  by BR&P
 
So we should take more money from those who work harder, smarter or longer? That's not a fair way. The income tax should be a flat percentage - the same for all. Why punish productivity? You want more money, find a way to earn it.

One part of the complex issue of declining industrial base in NY is that until quite recently, railroads were taxed at an incredibly higher rate than comparable industrial land. Let's take a long fill, leading to a bridge. It may have been there since 1889, but the taxation was calculated on today's replacement cost. Only within the past 10 years give or take has there been any relief of the burden. At one point, Conrail was paying more property taxes in NY State alone than they did in all other states they served combined. Naturally this lead to the "scorched earth" policy of tearing out every item, track, and piece of property possible. A less efficient rail system may not have single-handedly driven business and production away, but it sure did not help.

Forcing those with higher incomes to pay the property taxes of those with less is theft, coercion, and punishment of success. It does not matter whether we are talking about a corporation, such as the railroads, or an individual. The idea is the same - if one person or entity has more than another, take from the one with more to give to the one with less. It was illegal when Robin Hood did it, and there is no way we should tolerate such actions today.
  by MP366
 
Tennessee unemployment - 10.8%, population 6,157,000...total people out of work -- around 665,000

New York unemployment - 8.7%, population 19,298,000...total people out of work -- around 1,680,000

Slightly less unemployment, nearly three times as many people looking for work.....and the taxing of the rich methodology was what was applied to the railroad ROWs. I had a discussion with a co-worker once who sat on the Bergen, NY school board about how unreasonable it was that Conrail wanted to have their taxes/property values reassessed and was going to court to plead their case as they were still being assessed for four tracks when they only had two....it's a miracle that anybody wants to do business in New York State.
  by scharnhorst
 
[quote="BR&P"]So we should take more money from those who work harder, smarter or longer? That's not a fair way. The income tax should be a flat percentage - the same for all. Why punish productivity? You want more money, find a way to earn it.quote]


I don't pay much in property taxes on my apartment building in Eastern Europe the tax bracket for the Government take on its people is 3% tax for goods & Services, 5% Income Tax, and 10% for property tax and all that is fixed in the revised constitution and can not be changed unless the government is abolished. Now Rich people are few and far between there mostly non-regulated small business owners with less than 100 employees. Large factory's with more than 100 people are still nationalized making it illegal to outsource jobs out side of the country. All Transportation is Nationalized and the cash is spent evenly among the Highways, Railroads, Air Lines, and Ocean and River Ship/Barge transport operators.
  by neroden
 
BR&P wrote:So we should take more money from those who work harder, smarter or longer? That's not a fair way. The income tax should be a flat percentage - the same for all. Why punish productivity? You want more money, find a way to earn it.
Sigh. This is not the place to explain the entire theory of progressive taxation, but it is based in "marginal utilitiy of money". We already take more money from those who make more money: that's why we have income taxes, not head taxes. The next dollar is a lot more important and valuable to someone making $20,000/year than to someone making $1,000,000/year, and that's why, morally, it makes sense to charge a slightly higher rate to the latter person. Richer people also get more services from their government -- this is a fact; the court system and the SEC are sensible examples. Public airports catering to executive jets are a more extreme example.

In addition, it is documented empirically that progressive income tax gives people absolutely no disincentive to keep making money, at least until it reaches astronomical levels. In the 1950s under Republican President Eisenhower the top federal rate was *92%*, and the economy boomed, and the rich were pretty happy.

Finally (sigh), it's not about people who "work harder, smarter, or longer", really. That's a total, utter misconception. A lot people make a lot of money because they gamble better on the stock market. A bunch of CEOs make a lot of money because they appoint the boards which set their salaries, even if they drive their companies into bankruptcy (clear conflict of interest problem, and there's a clear regulatory solution involving more shareholder power over boards). Trust me. As someone with inherited money from a grandmother who never worked in her life and who picked stocks well, who follows corporate management news constantly out of personal self-interest, I know what I'm talking about here.
One part of the complex issue of declining industrial base in NY is that until quite recently, railroads were taxed at an incredibly higher rate than comparable industrial land. Let's take a long fill, leading to a bridge. It may have been there since 1889, but the taxation was calculated on today's replacement cost. Only within the past 10 years give or take has there been any relief of the burden
I know all of this. This has absolutely nothing to do with progressive income tax.

It has everything to do with lowering the property taxes. The property tax falls more heavily on people when land speculators are interested in their home. Is that reasonable? It taxes people for improving their homes -- a tax on investing money in useful things which benefit everyone. Is that helpful, economically?

Property taxes should be related to the number of services needed to be provided *to the property*: roads, water, sewer, police, fire -- only in NY, that's a small fraction of property taxes. Using them to fund schools, which have nothing to do with land, is just senseless. If you wanted a "fair" school tax you'd tax according to the number of kids people have, but that frankly wouldn't pay for the schools, and we don't really want other people's kids wandering around ignorant and causing trouble, so we figure everyone benefits from it and pay for it out of "general taxation".
Forcing those with higher incomes to pay the property taxes of those with less is theft, coercion, and punishment of success.
First of all, nobody is suggesting this. I am suggesting funding the schools out of income tax.

Second of all, stuff and nonsense. I know what theft, coercion, and punishment of success are, and the progressive income tax is none of the above. I'm sorry you've been so indoctrinated.
  by neroden
 
MP366 wrote:Tennessee unemployment - 10.8%, population 6,157,000...total people out of work -- around 665,000

New York unemployment - 8.7%, population 19,298,000...total people out of work -- around 1,680,000

Slightly less unemployment, nearly three times as many people looking for work....
You do have some understanding of percentages, don't you? New York is more than three times bigger, so there are nearly three times as people looking for work... clearly NY is doing better than Tennessee by all *numerically competent* standards.
and the taxing of the rich methodology was what was applied to the railroad ROWs.
I would call it the "tax the man behind the tree" methodology, actually: tax whoever doesn't have a vote or local representation. The oldest version of this is import tarriffs!

The real problem with property tax is that you have to pay it whether you're doing well or whether you're doing terribly. Income tax you *only* pay when you're receiving money. Businesses, in particular, only pay income tax on their *NET* profit, and only on their net profit over *several years*. You pay the property tax in a good year, you pay it in a bad year.

There is some ugly abuse in the income tax code for businesses with inventory (a tax code error which needs to be fixed) but apart from that, most businesses run by people who can compute, and who pay property taxes at all (the number of preferential "abatements" around NY is astounding) would rather have higher income taxes and lower property taxes -- because the income taxes only get paid if they succeed, and the property taxes can literally make the difference between whether they succeed or fail.
  by Flat-Wheeler
 
Very excellent points Neroden. Kinda feel everyone is double taxed, after reading this. Should be just income tax, in my opinion. What good is useless property when it don't make a cent for you. Oh yeah, another faction of our *out of control* government feels they need their share of money too. What a joke !

So what's next ? We are taxed for each morning we get up and out of bed to earn a dollar ? How about every freekin breath I take, and the CO2 emissions... The gov gonna keep tabs on that too ? It's almost approaching "beyond ludicrous."
  by tenthousandhobbies
 
Well, it does not look good for Rochester's railroads. Sad to see the thread die like Rochester's economy. Is Kodak's railroad still somewhat busy? Once that goes will Rochester & Southern as we know it make it?
  by roadster
 
Most of the Kodak business is served by CSX. R&S still drops a few cars 2x aweek. But R&S has lots to do elsewhere with the Rock salt, CSX interchange, NS interchange.
  by lvrr325
 
I see why I didn't look at this thread for a long time, it's so far away from where it started it's like your shipment on CSX that was misrouted to the west coast, then wrecked in a derailment. Some of those posts are downright laughable. Put a fork in it, it's done.
  by RailKevin
 
I recently moved back to the Rochester area after a long hiatus. Would that count as uplifting Rochester news? :P :P :wink:
  by StLouSteve
 
Today's Democrat & Chronicle has interesting article on converting the old St Paul Street line into a trail and reusing the two Genesee River Bridges akin to the Pough Bridge project...

>>November 14, 2009

Railroad bridge could become trail walkway

Brian Sharp
Staff writer

From 200 feet above the Genesee River gorge, the abandoned railroad bridge offers spectacular views and some uncertain footing.

The 700-foot span, just north of Smith Street, came to the city as part of a $1 million-plus land deal in 2005. The land, nearly 20 acres of abandoned rail line, stretches from Charlotte to High Falls, and a significant portion will be converted to a recreational trail next year. The 130-year-old bridge was something of an extra — and also an unknown.

If it turns out to be the "workhorse" city officials hope, however, then it could be a stunning addition to the city trail system one day, on par with the Pont du Rennes pedestrian bridge at High Falls.

"You are pretty high up. It's a scary situation," said Tom Hack, senior structural engineer for the city. "(But) it does have a bit of coolness to it — it really does."

Work began this week inspecting the bridge, a $135,000 project with the city paying engineers from Bergmann Associates, aided by Skala Inc. technicians, to go over the side of the bridge on ropes, to climb and check the support structure. The on-site work will continue into next week, with a feasibility study — outlining options from demolition to rehabilitation — due to the city by mid-2010.>>

rest of article: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/art ... NTCAROUSEL
  by Matt Langworthy
 
I'm going to stay out of the politics and mention something that could be a potential boon for the state of NY: the alcohol industry. According a number of news reports, the number of wineries in NY state has exploded in recent years and the number of (micro) breweries has also grown (albeit at a more moderate pace). Granted, only a few wineries or breweries ship by rail right now... but that is because they are small. Truck shipments do seem to make more sense for most wineries and breweries. However, Constellation Brands and Genesee/High Falls receive bulk shipments that justify the use of rail in the greater Rochester area. If the alcohol industry continues to grow here, it is entirely possible that rail traffic could grow as well.
  by nessman
 
Not really...

Ethanol plants will help in that regard... but that sector is struggling too.
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