Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New York's newspapers:
The Jamestown Post-Journal on the population decline in upstate New York
Who would have thought that the greener pastures many Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany county residents seek is a stone's throw away in Pennsylvania?
According to federal Internal Revenue Service tax filer migration data, the top destination for those who left Chautauqua County from 2011 to 2016 is Pennsylvania. Statewide, Pennsylvania is the sixth-most popular destination for those who move away from New York state.
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and County Executive George Borrello shared their thoughts for Pennsylvania's popularity last weekend with The Post-Journal's Dennis Phillips. Many of the things that make Chautauqua County a nice place to raise a family can be found in Pennsylvania. Pennsyvlania's proximity to Chautauqua County makes it easy for someone to get a job in the Jamestown area where wages may be higher and still live in Pennsylvania, where the cost of living is lower than Chautauqua County's already low cost of living. Small business owners can indeed free themselves of New York's onerous regulations by locating in Pennsylvania and working in New York.
New York has met its competition. What can it do to lure Pennsylvanians into New York?
The answer isn't money. As much as the state has tried to throw money at downtowns throughout New York state through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the Regional Economic Development Committee approach, such programs aren't likely to reverse the county's outmigration trend with Pennsylvania. Adding a bunch of spiffy new attractions to downtown Jamestown might make Warren-area residents come and visit more often, but won't make those Warren residents move here.
No single thing is wrong with New York. Our population loss is akin to death by a thousand paper cuts. Some leave because the jobs for which they're qualified are in Pennsylvania. Some dislike some of the state's laws and prefer to live where there isn't as much government interference. Some see a place where it is easier to run a business. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said it's President Donald Trump's cap on state and local tax deductions and joked that people are leaving because of the weather.
Whatever the reason, it's obvious what the state has been doing for the past couple of decades isn't working for upstate. If New York is serious about getting to the bottom of its Upstate population decline, and if has the will to listen to what people say, then state legislators should create a statewide task force or committee to listen to people's opinions and form recommendations based on them.
Population loss is a major problem. People who move away aren't buying things from our stores. They aren't paying the property taxes that support schools and infrastructure. They aren't part of the local PTA or volunteering for social service programs that desperately need volunteers. The region could lose even more of its voice in state and federal government when the time comes to redraw the lines for U.S. House of Representatives seats and positions in the state Assembly.
We've heard enough jokes and political rancor about the state's rural population losses. It's time for the state to get down to brass tacks, figure out what's making people move away and fix it.
The Dunkirk Evening Observer on treating teens as adults when facing terrorism charges
Juveniles who support terrorist groups actively can escape serious prosecution under federal law because of a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, The Associated Press reported this week.
Already, that has prompted federal prosecutors to skip proceedings against some minors, allowing state courts to handle their cases. In one, a Texas court sentenced Matin Azizi-Yarand to 20 years in prison, with possibility of parole after 10 years.
Azizi-Yarand was 17 when he plotted to go on a shooting rampage at a shopping mall, in support of the Islamic State terrorist group. Fortunately, he was arrested before he could act on his plan.
Federal law provides that juveniles can be prosecuted for aiding terrorist groups or, like Azizi-Yarand, planning their own attacks. But there is a catch: Minors have to have committed a "crime of violence" in order to be charged with aiding foreign organizations.
The Supreme Court, in a case last year, found the "crime of violence" provision was unconstitutionally vague. It did not define violence adequately, justices explained.
Federal prosecutions of juveniles for terrorism-related acts, including conspiracies, are rare. But several Islamic terrorist groups work hard, often via the internet, to recruit minors. As the Azizi-Yarand situation makes clear, they sometimes are successful.
That means Congress should rethink the relevant statutes. If a precise definition of "crime of violence" is necessary, it should be drafted and enacted.
No one should be given a pass on federal prosecution for planning or carrying out a terrorist act, regardless of what organization is being supported.
The New York Post on Bill de Blasio's Green New Deal press conference at Trump Tower
It was pure poetic justice that the weather ruined Mayor de Blasio's latest stunt — turning his plans to preen about his Green New Deal efforts outside Trump Tower into a humiliating debacle inside the building.
Forced indoors by rain, the mayor found his remarks drowned out by lobby music and protesters, some of whom ruined every picture by holding up "Trump 2020" and "Worst Mayor Ever" signs.
It's justice because de Blasio's approach is so cynical. The stunt targeted Trump buildings for their greenhouse-gas emissions even though several other edifices — Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Time Warner Center, the MetLife building — have bigger problems by the same standard.
And the standard itself is junk: It only threatens fines in 2030 — 11 years in the future, if buildings don't refit to cut their emissions. Plus, more than half the city is exempted. Indeed, the scheme effectively targets industries that use a lot of energy, such as tech, media and life sciences — sectors that provide good jobs.
Anyway, the initiative for the law came from the City Council; de Blasio just rushed to take the credit and then to pretend that Trump buildings are particular trouble.
Yet the mayor's green hypocrisy doesn't end there. He has also come out against the proposed Williams pipeline, a billion-dollar project to bring natural gas to Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Without it, National Grid warns it will immediately have to start refusing new gas customers. And the mayor's own aides warned last month that nixing the pipeline would increase the city's reliance on higher-carbon oil — for a net loss in fighting climate change.
De Blasio is claiming that his Green New Deal will somehow make up the difference, but its promised payoffs are years in the future, and he'll be long gone from office when those promises prove false.
The mayor, in short, is doing nothing about the real issues facing the city, just trying to polish his own image. He totally earned those "Worst Mayor Ever" signs.
The Times Herald-Record on the threat from North Korea
Democrat or Republican, conservative or progressive, every United States president in recent history has taken the same approach to North Korea.
Avoid dealing directly with the ruling regime because official recognition is what the family of dictators wants.
Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather, exercises control over the nation with a ruthless tendency to kill opponents and a propaganda effort that allows for no doubt that the nation is among the most important in the world, headed by one of the most important people in the world.
Donald Trump has deviated from the traditional approach, relying on his charm and deal-making abilities. Despite abundant evidence that he has fallen into the trap that others easily avoided, that those pictures of the two leaders smiling and shaking hands are the public relations coup that North Korean dictators yearned for since the nation was founded, he persists.
This makes the latest troubling news from North Korea even more troubling.
The nation recently conducted tests of several unidentified short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast. North Korea knows that this is a violation of the expectation that there would be no further enhancement of its military capabilities even if these were not the kinds of missiles that could reach the United States and carry nuclear weapons. They are the kinds that pose a direct threat to other nations in the Pacific and have sent a chill through those in neighboring South Korea which are very much in the path of such conventional weapons. That's why South Korea is worried and would like the United States to start putting more pressure on the regime rather than continuing to make friendly overtures.
The second piece of news is more subtle and more troubling.
The United Nations reported that a disastrous harvest has left North Korea with a drastic shortage of food, one that is lowering the daily rations distributed by the state to almost starvation levels with even more reductions likely to come in summer and fall, when food reserves are at their lowest.
Previous food shortages have inspired the regime to crack down even harder, fearing that unrest would pose a challenge to its rule. This regime is as cruel, perhaps more cruel, than those it succeeded and there is no incentive for it to give up the one thing that it has identified as crucial to North Korea's standing in the world, its nuclear arsenal.
So far, Kim Jong Un has managed to outmaneuver the Trump administration on every front, to gain the status it has long desired without having to give up anything in return. In addition to the tests conducted recently, there are regular reports that development of the nuclear weapons program continues unabated in hopes that it can use this as the ultimate bargaining chip to trade for reductions in sanctions.
The situation in North Korea is once again heading toward a crisis, one that previous administrations would have been in a position to exploit. President Trump, however, has already given up the advantage that others had held onto for so long with nothing to show for it.
___The Syracuse Post-Standard on the value of a college education
Is college worth it?
If you're heading to graduation today at Syracuse University, this is probably the wrong time to ask. You and your son or daughter have already sunk tens of thousands of dollars into a college education. Now you have to hope the expense and years of toil will pay off.
Well, today's graduates can do more than hope. They can take the value of a college education to the bank, says labor economist Mary C. Daly, a Maxwell School doctoral graduate who will deliver the commencement address at today's Carrier Dome ceremony.
Daly's insights into the value of education are more than academic; they come from hard, personal experience.
As a teenager growing up in Missouri, Daly dropped out of high school after a family crisis. A chance encounter led her to a mentor, who suggested Daly obtain her GED. Then, the mentor suggested she try college, and even paid for her first semester at the local state university campus. Daly went on to earn a master's degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate at Maxwell.
Daly is now president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, one of 12 regional banks in the Fed system. Her job is to monitor economic conditions in the western United States and to conduct research that helps businesses and individuals make good economic decisions. Before rising to the top job in October, Daly was head of research for the bank.
A 2014 report Daly co-authored with Yifan Cao showed that a graduate of a four-year college earns a salary "premium" of about $20,000 a year over someone with a high school diploma. The longer a college graduate is in the workforce, the bigger the premium. The "extra" earnings are enough to pay off the cost of a college education in nine to 17 years, depending on the cost of attendance. After the break-even point, the wage premium is money that can be spent or saved. Over a lifetime of work, the higher earnings add up to a net return in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that doesn't begin to count the intangible rewards of higher learning.
Daly's and Cao's research also shows that going to college improves a person's chances of moving up the economic ladder. This is especially true for lower-income students. Dividing income distribution into five equal groups, or quintiles, they calculated that college graduates from the bottom 20 percent are over six times as likely to reach the top 20 percent than those who don't go to college.
"For the American Dream to be revitalized, we have to be more intentional about educating our population," Daly told the Washington Post. "Right now, we're leaving a lot of talent on the table. We're just leaving people less educated than they could be."
Daly argues that too few Americans are getting college degrees -- only 37 percent of 25-to-29-year-olds hold one - when, in the near future, more jobs will require a bachelor's degree than a high school diploma.
The economist's bottom line is this: Yes, that diploma will pay off. A four-year college education is an appreciating asset, offering a shot at upward economic mobility, a cushion from economic shocks and a lifetime of higher earnings.
The challenge, for many, is getting to college in the first place. Daly's journey from GED to Ph.D. doesn't happen every day -- but it could happen more often if college were more affordable and if more young people had mentors who believed in them.