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OpinionCoronavirus

Require federal oversight of trillions

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gives a press

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gives a press briefing after the surprise announcement the FED will cut interest rates in Washington, DC on March 03, 2020. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/ERIC BARADAT

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In 1975, New York City was close to bankruptcy. The federal government bailed out the city by guaranteeing its bonds. To ensure that the city’s reckless spending would be controlled, New York State created the Emergency Financial Control Board. The EFCB had total control of every penny the city wanted to spend and denied many requests.

The Federal Reserve Board should require something like the EFCB before distributing trillions of dollars to the states to cover coronavirus expenses. Every dollar should be accounted for and directly related to COVID-19 expenses and be approved or disapproved by a federal control board.

Peter Kelly,

Medford

The purpose of schools to educate

Frank Russo Jr., president of the Port Washington Educational Assembly, said privatizing American education may save taxpayers money [“School choice saves taxpayers money,” Letters, May 8].

This may be true, but as a fifth-grade teacher who has taught in both public and private schools, this comes at a higher cost to American culture. Private and charter schools do not say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” In my view, these schools can have a political agenda and pass it on to their students. They are not subject to the same rules as public schools.

The purpose of schooling has always been to educate our children, but isn’t it also to develop a distinctive American culture? What would America look like today without public education? Continuing to privatize education may save money, but it won’t save our flag.

Michael Costa,

Floral Park

Property taxes feel like gouging, too

I see that Nassau County is giving out fines for price-gouging [“Nassau issues price-gouging fines of $1.15M,” News, May 6]. I will be writing a check for half of my Suffolk County property tax on my condo. It’s $5,361. A friend in Florida has a three-bedroom house on five acres and pays about $2,400 — a year. So who is price-gouging? I think it’s not up to any government to decide what a merchant can charge for an item. I’m 80 and may have to relocate in Florida.

Alan Franks,

Smithtown

Playing in casinos a real gamble

The article about the steps the unions want before casinos reopen [“Employees seek virus protections before casinos reopen,” Business, May 6] did not mention germs on the chips and cards that the players and dealers handle.

How can the chips be made safe? What about all the buttons and handles on the slot machines? The bedspreads, blankets and pillows are not changed in the rooms. How can a guest feel secure knowing that? Who has the answers?

Dorothy Seiden,

North Woodmere

Leaf blowers serve no purpose

For nearly 50 years after cutting my own lawn, I cleaned up with a silent tool — called a broom [“Ban leaf blowers during pandemic,” Letters, May 5]. I see leaf blowers as serving no purpose other than spewing dust and fumes. Maybe when our politicians represent us instead of those who give their careers financial support, leaf blowers will finally disappear.

Walter Hilsenbeck,

Massapequa

Forgotten faces in the pandemic

I want to share the story of invisible but essential workers who care for our neighbors with intellectual and developmental disabilities during this COVID-19 crisis. Direct support professionals work 24/7, often in people’s homes where they cannot practice social distancing. They support people needing help with basic hygiene, health and nutrition, connecting with loved ones, taking medications and more — all despite having as hard a time as hospitals securing personal protective equipment.

Yet, Medicaid-funded disability service providers are at risk of programs closing without support. Funding is needed to cover overtime and hazard/heroes pay for DSPs and PPE, which are essential during this pandemic. The federal government has overlooked these services, along with the vulnerable people they support, in distributing congressionally appropriated CARES Act funding. Without DSPs, people with disabilities — especially the medically vulnerable — risk being institutionalized or unnecessarily forced into already-overwhelmed hospitals.

The good news is that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can continue to make a difference by holding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services accountable in distributing federal resources to Medicaid programs. People with disabilities in New York State and the DSPs on whom they rely desperately need your support.

Robert S. Budd,

Old Bethpage

Editor’s note: The writer is CEO of Family Residences and Essential Enterprises Inc. (FREE).

Looking for tax rebates in shutdown

Our village, town, county and state governments are mostly shut down, we cannot get permits, records and information and cannot resolve a single issue in the courts. Will we get tax rebates for services we paid for and did not receive?

John McNally,

Babylon

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