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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

County resolutions

The Rensselaer County Legislature approved several resolutions at their Jan. 13 legislative meeting which supported efforts to remove a federally-mandated annual surcharge for those receiving child support payments, called for a strengthening of Buster's Law after the recent murder of a horse in Hoosick, and opposed a wide range of new taxes and fee increases including in the proposed 2009-2010 state budget.

The sponsor of the child support resolution, Legislator Martin Reid, said the surcharge is unfair and discriminatory to those families receiving child support. The resolution was approved unanimously at the legislative meeting.

“The surcharge should be revoked because it is unfair and essentially takes advantage of those families receiving child support. The money belongs to those families and the new president and new Congress should act quickly to end the surcharge,” said Reid.

The fee came about two years ago on the federal level, as part of a proposal to reduce a federal deficit. Under the plan, a $25 annual fee is owed for each family receiving child support payments.

Legislators in support of strengthening Buster's Law suggested that the amendment to the legislation be named "Skye's Amendment," after the horse that was found dead with its throat slit weeks ago.

Along with the murder of Skye, legislators said recent acts of animal abuse demonstrate a need for strengthening the law, including the deliberate starvation of a dog in Troy, and the mutilation deaths of two kittens whose bodies were found in the Troy area.

"The killing of Skye was a shocking instance of cruelty and one that shows the need to strengthen Buster's Law. The number of recent acts of depravity towards animals is of real concern to us," said Legislator Lester Goodermote.

Republican legislators acknowledged the state's fiscal problems but noted there are still hundreds of millions of dollars that can be reduced in the state budget without resulting in new mandates, layoffs or reductions of state services.

"A new round of taxes and fees are not the answer as residents deal with an already tough economy," said Goodermote. "These taxes and fees will take millions out of the pockets of New Yorkers who are already struggling."

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