Extra incentive to help hungry people
While many worthy initiatives made it into New York State’s $163 billion budget, funding for one important bill received less fanfare [“Budget battle left bruised feelings,” News, April 17].
The bipartisan Farm to Food Bank bill, finally signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after two previous vetoes, will enable farmers to claim a tax credit for 25 percent of the value of food donated to hunger-relief organizations across the state.
Island Harvest Food Bank joined with the Long Island Farm Bureau and others to make this a reality.
Last year, New York’s farmers donated 13 million pounds of produce to help fight hunger, including more than 2 million pounds to help Long Islanders in need.
Beyond their generosity, farmers will have an added incentive to contribute more excess produce, offsetting some of the costs to pick, pack and deliver nutritious fruits, vegetables and dairy products to local food banks. An additional benefit is that the food will not end up rotting in the field or carted to landfills, thus avoiding methane emissions that contribute to climate change.
Emergency feeding programs regularly struggle to provide a well-balanced diet for the people they serve. This bill will help.
Randi Shubin Dresner, Hauppauge, Rob Carpenter, Calverton
Editor’s note: The writers are, respectively, the president and chief executive of Island Harvest Food Bank and the administrative director of the Long Island Farm Bureau.
Again, no ethics reform in Albany
I find it absolutely astonishing, in light of all the scandals that have rocked our State Legislature and Long Island governments, that Albany again failed to include any meaningful ethics reforms in “negotiating” our state budget.
Newsday at least mentioned the lack of reform, but it should be a Page 1 headline. Has integrity become a curse word? Or is it just that many of today’s politicians are motivated by greed and not public service — and the public doesn’t really care?
Howard Frauenberger, Malverne
Give Hempstead breathing space
Hempstead villagers who resist adding hundreds of apartments to the revitalization effort are not short-sightedly opposing change. Rather, we resist a repeat of the past [“Hempstead Village mayor needs vision for downtown,” Editorial, March 27].
Waves of “revitalization” since 1960 have overburdened Hempstead with apartment buildings. Meanwhile, ugly real estate tactics of the mid-20th century tricked white Hempstead villagers into selling their homes for low prices while steering nonwhites to buy the same homes for market prices or above. The village became majority minority, sharply reducing its political power within Nassau County.
Saying “no” became difficult to impossible when one Hempstead building after another converted to low-income housing, yet another liquor establishment moved in or we were burdened with another non-taxpaying social service organization within our boundaries.
Developers also created neighborhoods of closely spaced houses on small lots. The result: population density, concentrated poverty, increased crime and a disproportionate number of needy children in overcrowded schools.
Moderate- and higher-income rental units are needed everywhere. Including some in our revitalization could work, but only if wealthier municipalities assume their fair burden of the less fortunate, giving Hempstead breathing space to foster its own scholars and businesses.
Reine Bethany, Hempstead
Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct professor at the New York Institute of Technology and is writing a history of the Village of Hempstead.