Good morning. Here’s a look at opinion content published in The Journal News today, Tuesday, Feb. 2:
Fire codes: Editorial
We comment on news that a recent fire in Haverstraw in which a firefighter nearly lost his life. The incident serves as a reminder that fire codes need strict enforcement. We write:
… Illegal conversions happen in many Lower Hudson Valley towns, with suburban split-ranch homes carved into apartments, or businesses hidden in basements. The problem became so prevalent in New Square several years ago, the local fire district threatened to remove the village from its jurisdiction. Economic pressure from the Great Recession brings more worries of illegal subdividing and cheap building.
Regulations need to be strict and fines for those who ignore the rules need to be steep. It should cost those who ignore them, because the fallout in a fire could cost dearly.
New York’s budget: Commentary
Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlines his approach to forming a 2011 state budget in a perspective piece today. The governor writes:
… We need fundamental reform in the budget system that allows us to recalibrate spending this year to a sustainable level and replace “the special interest protection program” of automatic, unrealistic increases. There is no such thing as “permanent” laws and they must all be reviewed and replaced or modified when necessary. The state budget should increase based on objective, fair criteria such as the rate of inflation, enrollment, the Consumer Price Index or personal income growth. Programs should be reviewed for effectiveness and terminated if they are not working well. Reimbursement rates should be negotiated to get the best bargain. Performance should be measured.
Albany must give up its insistence on pleasing the special interests rather than serving the people. This is the real budget battle that I will wage this year. We must balance this year’s budget but we must also reform the process so that the cycle finally stops. This year’s budget is not merely about the numbers. It’s about our values and our future.
Purple Hearts: Perspective
Rockland Opinion Editor Nancy Cutler argues that Capt. Phillip Esposito of Suffern and 1st Lt. Louis Allen of Pennsylvania should be awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. Esposito and Allen were killed by a Claymore mine explosion at their Army post in Tikrit.
Assembly should support tax cap: Editorial, Newsday
American restraint appropriate: Editorial, Poughkeepsie Journal
Andrew on the attack: Editorial, New York Daily News
Fix roads, bridges to revive state economy: Editorial, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle