Press-Republican

April 10, 2013

Letters to the Editor: April 10, 2013


Press-Republican

---- — Funding focus

TO THE EDITOR: There are approximately 313,914,000 American citizens, of which 65,000,000 have some form of a criminal history that would be exposed by the existing Brady Bill background check, thus preventing them from purchasing firearms, along with arrests and incarceration as deterrents.

That leaves 248,914,000, with the vast majority being law compliant, and a small minority being the untreated mentally ill, which commit 1,000 or more homicides per year.

Studies have shown that the victims of these homicides were family members or an intimate partner 57 percent of the time; friends or acquaintances, 33 percent; and strangers, 10 percent.

Due to deinstitutionalization in the 1960s because of gross underfunding, the mentally ill were returned to the streets without any type of monitoring.

In 90 percent of the cases above, family members or friends might have known the early symptoms but had no place to turn. The Brady Bill would not have identified these people, due to discontinued records or none at all.

Psychiatrists have long sought funding for evaluation, monitoring and treatment (knowing that lack of latter leads to violence), with their findings being reviewed in our Judicial System to determine the next course of action, thus possibly avoiding another Aurora or Newtown.

Instead of our government spending taxpayer money on more restrictions for the compliant citizens, use it to establish psychiatric call-in and treatment centers for family and friends of the mentally ill, thus possibly preventing them, along with strangers from becoming future victims.

DEREK SPRAGUE

Moriah Center

 

Minimum wage

TO THE EDITOR: Let’s do some math regarding the recent hike in the state minimum wage.

Number of Democrats elected to the State Senate, 33; number of Republicans elected to the State Senate, 30; number of senators who said they supported raising the minimum wage right away to $9 an hour, 32. A majority.

The percentage of New York voters who supported raising the minimum wage, 80 percent, a majority of whom wanted a raise closer to $10 than to $9.

Republican voters by 2 to 1 wanted a minimum-wage hike. Then how did we come up with a minimum-wage hike of only $8 an hour this year? Senator Jeff Klein and his IDC group. Five Democrats who gave power to the minority Republicans in order to make “democracy work” better.

How much money will low-income workers lose by delaying the minimum-wage hike to $9 an hour over three years and then no indexing? $1.2 billion. Maybe more. Money that could have been used to feed their families, pay the landlord, utility company, buy clothes.

And tip workers were dropped. They now have to wait for the Labor Department to rule on a new wage order.

Republican senators wanted a sub-minimum wage for young workers. No one else did. So what did the other three men in the back room agree to: the first tax credit in the United States to subsidize employers, including Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Burger King, if they hire young workers at the minimum wage. The cost to taxpayers: $20 million to $40 million a year or more. No one really knows. But it creates incentives for employers to increase the number of low-wage jobs that it fills with teenagers paid exactly the minimum-wage rate.

What does Sen. Klein get as a reward for his new math? A bigger office, a higher lulu. This is not how democracy is supposed to work.

MARK A. DUNLEA

Executive Director

Hunger Action Network of NYS

Albany