NYS betting revenue, electricity costs, masking rules and Amazon

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Let’s see where NYS betting dollars go

The current boom in recently legal New York State online gambling took in $1.6 billion in January alone since it started Jan. 8, with the state seeing $70.6 million in 30 days [“NY: Nearly $2B in mobile bets,” News, Feb. 15].

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The state taxes total gross game revenue operators at 51%. When the law was passed, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set the bar, claiming this will bring the state $500 million. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Feb. 14 the money will be used mostly for schools.

For us taxpayers, whose education portion is the largest line item in our tax bills, which increase yearly, we would like to know: Will this “extra” newfound gambling income be on top of the usual state budgeted aid allocated to schools? If that’s the case, can districts now count on dividing that additional $500 million among themselves?

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But if districts receive only the usual aid from the state, with no noticeable increase from this gambling windfall, it would be an injustice. Who is tracking where the money is going, and how it’s spent? State lottery scratch-offs, games, Mega Millions, etc. were supposed to be the same boon to aid schools, but our tax bills say differently.

— Andrew Siegel, Farmingdale

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The state received $70.6 million from mobile bets in the first 30 days of legalized gambling, with most of the money to be used for schools. I thought that’s what Lotto was for. How about taking that money to help our seniors and the disabled?

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Here’s another idea: Fix the roads.

— James Lee, Port Jefferson Station

How LI can contain rising electric rates

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Predictions that electric use on Long Island will double may be a mixed blessing [“Twice as Green,” LI Business, Feb. 14]. The reduction of greenhouse gases through the replacement of oil and gas heating needs to happen quickly.

The cost of electricity will be the rub and will slow down any quick changeover. Long Islanders already pay among the highest electric rates in the nation. The state Department of Public Service and Long Island leaders need to redouble efforts to contain electricity costs.

A good first step would be to emulate Freeport and Rockville Centre through the establishment of a fully nonprofit power system. Electricity costs there are fair, reasonable and about 40% lower.

State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) and Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) recently introduced a bill to create a legislative commission to review and implement a fully public Long Island Power Authority plan.

Passing it would be an excellent start in creating a road map to low-cost energy for the rest of Long Island.

— Fred Harrison, Merrick

The writer is a member of the Long Island chapter of Food & Water Watch, a national environmental group.

I support reducing our reliance on fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. One of the accompanying photos [above, left] depicted a wind turbine close to Block Island. It does not represent what we can expect with newly proposed projects.

The South Fork Wind Farm project beginning this year will have the offshore turbines located 35 miles east of Montauk. These will not impact anyone’s view from the shore.

— Gary Feldman, Island Park

Nassau? We shop and eat in Queens

My husband and I grew up in Nassau County. We attended schools and college, and worked and shopped in the county for more than 60 years. With COVID-19 masking rules and tighter restrictions in Queens, we have learned how nice the stores, restaurants and other businesses are there.

We now spend our money in Queens at the expense of Nassau County businesses and, of course, the county itself loses our sales tax to Queens.

We will continue to do this until it is again safe to shop in Nassau and beyond. Yes, the state mandate is over — a bit too soon, in our opinion. Oh, I used to be a Republican.

— Corrine Hall, East Meadow

Lack of foresight on Amazon hurt LI

Inexperienced politicians chased Amazon away from building a headquarters in Long Island City, showing a lack of foresight [“Amazon-city breakup still reverberates,” Opinion, Feb. 16]. We moved to Virginia from Merrick in 2019, after living on Long Island for 55 years, to escape the high taxes and poor decisions like this, which impact future generations seeking quality jobs and benefits. My son’s roommate just landed a computer programming job in Amazon’s new Virginia headquarters with a starting salary of $125,000.

Wouldn’t it have been nice for the people of New York City and the surrounding areas (Long Island) to have landed one of these high-paying jobs? It would have revitalized the area, as well.

— Stuart Wolfson, Williamsburg, Va.



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