TODAY'S PAPER
52° Good Afternoon
52° Good Afternoon
OpinionLetters

Letter: How to pay for jobless benefits

The Republican Party's insistence that extended unemployment benefits for Americans be fully funded is easily achieved ["Unemployed now face uncertainty," News, Jan. 13].

Estimates are that annual oil company subsidies, when combined with state and local government aid to large oil companies, amount to anywhere from $133.2 billion to $280.8 billion, according to Data Transmission Network, an agricultural news service.

Unemployment insurance is spent back into the economy. Lowering oil company subsidies to allow the unemployed to purchase gas to look for a job would certainly be reasonable. Has anyone ever noticed oil companies using their subsidies to reduce gas prices?

Clifford Glass, Rego Park

Administrative fee rankles driver

I recently received a red-light camera violation notice in the mail, and I was shocked to see that now in addition to the $50 ticket there is a $30 "administrative fee" on top.

Apparently, the $50 that each ticket garners for Suffolk County is not enough. Now they need an administrative fee on top of the already high fine for the violation?

It seems to me the everyday person is just getting clobbered with more fees and taxes. I don't have an issue with paying for making a right on red in error, but I do have a problem with paying for administrative fees that are nonsense. I'm sure there are many more like me who are fed up.

Liz Porcelli, Sayville

Wary of replacing MetroCard

I read the article "On sure track for retirement" [News, Jan. 7] about plans to phase out the MetroCard. While I'm all for the introduction of more-efficient technology, the proposal to bring in outside companies to collect fares for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a worrying proposition.

I spent the last four years in Evanston, Ill., where I attended Northwestern University. I rode Chicago Transit Authority trains and buses. The CTA used a system similar to the MetroCard, and the cards worked just fine. There was also an additional Chicago Card option for contactless (tap-and-go) fare payment.

Just after I moved back to New York, the CTA phased out this system and turned fare collection over to a private company, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., which introduced a new, exclusively contactless fare payment method called Ventra. The results were disastrous.

Friends in Chicago told me stories of not receiving their new Ventra Cards, or being unable to use them because of technical issues with the readers. News reports out of Chicago showed Ventra fare boxes on many buses malfunctioning, resulting in increased loading times at bus stops, and ultimately, many passengers being unable to pay their fares. The free rides were good for passengers, but represented lost revenue for the CTA.

My takeaway from Chicago's experience is that there's nothing wrong with new technology, but it's better to keep it in-house.

Zach Wichter, Bethpage

Opposition to universal pre-K

Regarding "Mayor goes to Albany" [News, Jan. 9], here's a novel thought. How about those who need pre-K pay for it? Thousands who choose something other than publicly funded education pay their own way. Enough of forcing others to foot the bill for your choice.

Educational funding needs to be reviewed. Seniors need relief, beyond STAR, after decades of paying for a system they no longer use but recognize as imperative to our nation's future.

Parents need more skin in the game. A fee per child might get the parents more involved and pro-active in their children's education.

Bill Ragona, Baldwin

Universal pre-K has flunked every test. Over the last 15 years, New York State has wasted several billion dollars in taxpayer money on a flawed and misconceived program which has shown no real results.

Contrary to what Newsday has reported, studies do not show any real gains for a universal population. Some studies have been done on a targeted population, and the gains from universal pre-K disappear by fourth grade.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo caved in to the special interests and unions and favored unproven "universal" programs over targeted programs, which would reach the most vulnerable. Why? Politics! Universal programs sell easier.

The solution would be to target pre-K based on financial need and students' needs. In the end, universal programs are ignoring the most vulnerable populations, not improving K-12, and further burdening taxpayers.

Universal pre-K competes with private preschools like mine for students, and Abigail Bottoms has had to close a school. Universal pre-K is going to families that can already afford preschool, and it is essentially shifting private programs to public funding.

Perry Russell, Farmingville

Editor's note: The writer is the owner of Abigail Bottoms preschool in East Patchogue.

Columns