The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention. President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd. Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.
Giving up is not “reform.” County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposal to transfer property assessment from the county to the towns might possibly speed up assessment decisions by replacing one large and overwhelmed bureaucracy with several somewhat smaller ones. It will likely recreate problems that were major motivations in creating our highly centralized county government 75 years ago.
The 1938 county charter merged the town Boards of Assessors and the County Board of Equalization, ending three decades of complaints, lawsuits and hard feelings about the lack of specific, uniform levels of property assessments between the towns. In a tax system screaming out for simplification, clarification and a sense of certainty, spinning off assessments to the towns will reintroduce “equalization” as an annual issue. Tens of thousands of residents are still trying to figure out why their assessment went down but their tax bill still went up. The division of taxes heading up the tax food chain in an equitable manner is the most complex subject in local government, and it’s all going to make people very sad, particularly in villages and school districts that are split between townships.
Manhattan District Attorney (D.A.) Robert Morgenthau was facing a spirited Democratic primary challenge from a former judge in 2005, but his opponent had trouble finding anything substantively negative to say about Morgenthau.
The reason I know this: a city-based tabloid newspaper reporter called me weeks before the election, asking whether it was legal to have a Manhattan driver’s license while at the same time registering and insuring a car in Dutchess County, where auto insurance premiums are much lower. The answer: yes, so long as the insured vehicle is primarily garaged in Dutchess County. I was the director of public affairs for the New York State Insurance Department at the time and knew immediately the question pertained to Morgenthau because he met those criteria.
Written by Robert McMillan Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00
On April 25, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments dealing with the Arizona State passed immigration law. One of the provisions of the Arizona law permits police to question the immigration status of anyone arrested or even stopped for a traffic violation. Some 20 other states have passed laws similar to the contested Arizona law.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself since she worked on the original Obama administration’s challenge to the Arizona immigration law.
There should be a decision sometime in June or early July of this year – again, just as with regard to the challenged Health Care law – right in the middle of the 2012 Presidential election. There is no doubt that the enforcement of immigration laws in the United States will get much attention over the next several months – and beyond.
When you look at the number of people who are waiting to immigrate to the United States from all over the globe, the statistics are amazing. Millions of people are waiting to become legal immigrants. At the same time, hundreds of thousands come here illegally each year. There has been no real enforcement of immigration laws by any president since Truman and Eisenhower.
Now, take a look with me at the number of people around the globe who want to make the United States their permanent home. A recent global poll shows that over 165 million adults want to permanently relocate to the United States – yes, over 165 million adults. And those statistics do not count the children of the adults who would want to relocate here.
With a world population of 7.1 billion, the above figure represents a conclusion that over 3 percent of the world’s population would move here at the drop of a hat! Then, when you add in Canada, the figure gets higher. Some 45 million people around the globe want to relocate to Canada.
We have a broken immigration system, and if it is not fixed, the United States could well expect chaos. At the same time, just think what would happen if our gates were totally opened to anyone who wants to come here – legal massive immigration. The result would be a shift in the culture of this nation never before seen. Would the immigrants from around the world “assimilate” themselves to our culture as President Teddy Roosevelt called for in the early 1900s, or could we expect dramatic shifts in our culture and even in the accepted English language? If people in the United States do not speak up, we will be headed down the wrong path.