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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, October 21, 2010
In Assembly’s 104th District
By Zach Simeone
ALBANY COUNTY Voters here will decide on Nov. 2 between longtime Democratic Assemblyman John “Jack” McEneny and Knox native Deborah Busch, a relative newcomer to politics.
Busch, in addition to running on the Republican and Conservative lines, successfully petitioned for the creation of the Tax Payer Party line; McEneny, who was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992, will run on the Independence line as well as his own party line.
Before voters get to have their say, McEneny and Busch will have a debate at the Guilderland Public Library, on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
This week, McEneny and Busch shared their views with The Enterprise on a number of subjects, and answered the following questions:
Tax cap: More and more people are crying out against high taxes; some people are leaving New York because of them. Should taxes be capped? If so, at what point should they be capped, and what would you cut in order to lower taxes? If not, why not?
Jobs: New York lost about 367,400 jobs in the two-year recession, according to the report issued recently by the state comptroller. The report says that the state’s economy is still fragile. What are some specific ways you would create jobs?
Distribution of funds: How should the federal jobs funds for schools be distributed? Should it be by the Title 1 method of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which favors big-city schools because it’s based on poverty counts; or should it go by the state aid formula?
Should the state formula for aid to schools be changed? Why or why not? And how?
Absorption of aid: The state comptroller’s recent report indicated that future federal funds would probably be limited. Taking that into account, how much of the tab should the state pick up, and what, if any, should be passed down to the county or town levels?
State schools: The University at Albany is planning to cut its French, Russian, Italian, classics, and theater departments in 2012. Some students are up in arms, but the school made the choice, instead of cutting courses across the board, to simply eliminate entire departments. What role should the state have in maintaining, overseeing, and regulating the state university system?
Death penalty: In June 2004, the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that the death penalty cannot be implemented because of a flaw in the law; the deadlock instruction, they said, is coercive. A death sentence requires a unanimous decision from the jury, and if any juror turns it down, then the convicted can get a life sentence, with chance of parole at 20 to 25 years. This was seen as being coercive and counter to the state’s constitution, because a juror might vote in favor of the death penalty, knowing that, if he didn’t, the convicted could be out of prison and back on the streets in 20 to 25 years. So, should there be a death penalty? And why hasn’t the legislature acted on amending the law in the last six years?