Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 29, 2013

CONFER: A look at state Props 2, 3 and 6

Niagara Gazette — This week marks the conclusion of my three-part series breaking down the six statewide propositions that New Yorkers will have a chance to vote on next week.

Proposition 2 concerns civil service credits for veterans who became disabled during the course of their wartime duties for the armed forces. Current state law gives veterans additional credit on civil service exams (5 points for original appointment and 2 ½ points for a promotion). Disabled veterans are entitled to additional credits (10 points for original appointment and 5 for promotion).

Under the state constitution, veterans are eligible for only one grant of credits. So, if a vet returned to active duty while employed by the government, and became disabled in war, he could not receive additional credits if he applied for an appointment or promotion. He would forever be locked in at the 5 and 2 ½ levels and could not achieve the 10 and 5 credit levels.

The proposition would fix that by granting the newly disabled veteran an exclusion to the one-time-only clause. He would receive the difference between the two standings and be fully credited to the 10 and 5 marks.

I’ll cast a “yes” vote for this measure because we can’t reward disabled veterans enough for their calling to true civil service. They risked life and limb to make a difference (and suffered a loss of the latter). It’s only fitting they be given the full 10 points. I’d go so far to say they deserve many more.

Proposition 3 would allow a 10-year extension (to 2024) of the current exemption to the constitutional debt limits that municipalities enjoy for construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities. This exemption has been renewed in 10-year increments dating back to 1963.

I will vote “no” on Prop 3. Constitutional debt limits were set for a reason: to ensure towns, villages, cities and counties don’t spend like mad and put undue burden on taxpayers (and future generations) who have to shoulder the debt payments.

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