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Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Inflamed rhetoric

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New Yorkers seeking consistent winter entertainment that does not come with a ticket price for admission just need to look at Albany.

This year is exceptional because the annual budget waltz is being orchestrated by the governor, the speaker of the Assembly and in the Senate where the Independent Democratic Conference has teamed up with the Republican leadership. Add to this that we have a gubernatorial election year.

New York is in its fourth year of leadership, which has turned the state budget from deficit to projected surplus by a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Here in the north country, there is a glimmer of hope:

n An expanded focus on tourism. Look at the state investments in top notch hotels in Clayton and Saranac Lake. Look at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s enthusiastic support of the Waddington bass fishing derby and promotion of snowmobiling in Lewis County.

n A large state investment in new apartment complexes in Jefferson County to bring the housing market into balance, thus protecting lifelong residents from the ravages of higher rents driven by demand exceeding supply.

n Focus on higher education. The state’s long-term investment with Clarkson University to put the Trudeau Institute of Saranac Lake on solid financial footing should pay dividends for the north country and all New Yorkers who will benefit from the added research and innovations these institutions will be capable of producing.

n A plan to attract entrepreneurs to invest around the state’s college campuses in return for very attractive tax benefits.

n The Economic Development Council’s extraordinary work to refine state investment across the north country by building local consensus and balancing competing needs as defined in our backyard, not in Albany.

n A highway study that should finally lay to rest the argument over a four-lane highway from Watertown to Plattsburgh and instead endorse enhancements to Route 11, which will put hundreds of men and women back to work in the near term.

There plenty of reasons to feel good about the north country. But watching the antics in Albany these last couple of weeks casts a pall across the state.

To have the governor rather flippantly dismiss conservative thoughts and opinions by suggesting that those people opposed to abortion, gun control and gay marriage should move to another state is embarrassing. New York has always been an inclusive state, and it caters to freedom of expression. People who disagree about gun control or gay marriage are not bad neighbors, and they should be just as welcome to live in the Empire State as anyone else.

One can discount that radio burst of ill thought-out language as hyperbole. What you cannot dismiss is the president of the New York State Civil Service Employees Association, the state’s largest public employee union, calling Gov. Cuomo a moron and a monkey.

“Today should be the hue and cry to the governor and with the support of our friends, that we, the people of this state, are sick and tired of being had by this moron,” Danny Donohue shouted at a rally held Jan. 29 in Albany.

Gov. Cuomo has been responsibly examining the finances of New York. And while his decisions have hurt lots of people as he brought the budget into balance, New Yorkers will be better tomorrow.

The calculated comments by Mr. Donohue are not in keeping for a man responsible for thousands of state workers. Uncivil categorizations do nothing to further public debate and mutual problem-solving.

New York’s political powers need to temper their remarks, accept and embrace differences of opinion by adopting civility in the state capital. Temper tantrums do nothing to encourage progress toward a common goal of better lives for residents across the state. Most New Yorkers who elected and trust the governor are offended by such crass comments.

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