Hey, Burnt Hills, Ballston Lake, regarding your sewer vote. Have you seen enough signs, read enough letters to the editor or seen enough road-side signs admonishing you to “do this or don’t do that?”How about this? Get the facts and do your own thinking.Make up your own mind. How about that?David W. ChristensenBallston SpaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGuilderland girls’ soccer team hands BH-BL first league lossEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion
Insurance and compensation for medical workers, including doctors and nurses The Family Hope program (PKH) will be expanded from 10 million families to 15 million families to provide a social safety net for about 70 million individuals. Measures The budget for official business trips will be significantly reduced The second stimulus package, which includes individual, import and corporate tax breaks, among others Transfers from the government to villages will be shifted to address COVID-19 Rp 10 trillion A request from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to step up the fight against the pandemic The government will reallocate Rp 62.3 trillion (US$3.9 billion) of state spending from the 2020 budget to carry out the President’s instructions for tackling COVID-19, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said after the Cabinet meeting.The allocated sum is a significant increase from the previous estimate of Rp 27 trillion – on top of the Rp 120 trillion of stimulus packages – as the government prepares for worst-case scenarios including the possibility of zero percent economic growth, ministers said.“We’ve identified about Rp 62.3 trillion of planned spending that can be re-allocated to priority areas put forward by the President. This includes funding for business trips, blocked funds and non-operational purchases of goods, among other items,” Sri Mulyani said.Read also: Jokowi urges ministers to focus budget on health care, social aid, economic stimuli Rp 3.1 trillion – Rp 6.1 trillion The government’s baseline scenario had been for Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow more than 4 percent this year, Sri Mulyani said. Under the assumption that the pandemic would last for six months, that global trade would slump by 30 percent and that the country would go into lockdown, economic growth could fall to between zero and 2.5 percent, she added.Sri Mulyani asked ministries to delay big-check spending to allow more room for fiscal intervention in light of uncertainties surrounding the pandemic this year. The Finance Ministry would move quickly to facilitate other ministries’ spending priorities, she added.“This will provide us with fiscal space for healthcare and will protect the public and businesspeople.”As of Sunday, Indonesia had 514 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 48 deaths. Twenty nine people who contracted the virus have recovered. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected over 308,000 people and has claimed at least 13,000 lives.University of Indonesia rector Ari Kuncoro said the state budget would need to be flexible to solve health issues and counter the negative economic effects of the virus, adding that the government should substitute the annual budget with an intertemporal budget.“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” the senior economist told The Jakarta Post. “The government should look to implement an intertemporal budget. If we pass the 3 percent limit this year, then we should compensate for the deficit over the next three to five years.”The current annual budget system will limit the government’s ability to maneuver nimbly at a time when stimulus is most needed, Ari said. “But the stimulus must focus on healthcare and making the economy work, particularly through online platforms.”Read also: ‘Desperate times, desperate measures’: Calls grow for flexible state budget amid virusIndonesia recorded a state budget deficit of Rp 62.8 trillion (US$4.07 billion) in February of this year as government spending growth fell compared to the same period the year before and revenue dropped, the Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday.Sri Mulyani has said the state budget deficit may widen to between 2.2 and 2.5 percent of GDP this year, taking into account the large government stimulus packages intended to fuel the virus-worn economy.However, Indonesia’s state budget deficit may surpass the established 3 percent ceiling this year as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sharp drop in oil prices could further worsen Indonesia’s economic outlook, senior economist Faisal Basri of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) has warned.“During the 2008 global financial crisis, the government made several economic decisions. This time, economic policy is blunt to address the virus crisis,” Faisal said.He urged the government to issue a presidential regulation (Perpres) to allow a deficit of more than 3 percent. He predicted the deficit would increase from the government’s estimate of 1.8 percent of GDP to surpass the ceiling if the situation got worse.Indonesia has taken several fiscal measures to help the country cope with COVID-19 The first stimulus package, which provides mortgage subsidies for low-income families and fiscal incentives for tourism-related industries Rp 62.3 trillion President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has rallied ministers and regional administrations to refocus their budgets on healthcare, the disbursement of social funds and economic stimuli as economists call for a flexible state budget to help the country cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.Jokowi said the pandemic posed a significant risk not only to public health but also to the economy, as global and domestic growth were expected to slow. “I ask you for three things: healthcare to mitigate COVID-19 risks, the disbursement of social funds and economic incentives for businesspeople as well as small and medium businesses,” Jokowi told ministers in a teleconferenced meeting on Friday. Pre-employment cards for a jobseeker training program Source: Finance Ministry compiled by The Jakarta PostTopics : Village funds will be reallocated this year, particularly in COVID-19-affected communities Amount State spending reallocation from the 2020 state budget to focus on healthcare, social funds and financial incentives Rp 72 trillion Rp 22.9 trillion Rp 10.3 trillion Rp 3.9 trillion Incentives for tourism as a part of the first stimulus package will be adjusted to respond to the fast-changing conditions Half of the Rp 43 trillion budget for business trips will be cut Rp 3.3 trillion (under evaluation) Rp 46 trillion – Rp 59 trillion Unknown
US President Donald Trump’s attempt to curb what he says is social media censorship is a political gambit and will not change the legal obligations of companies like Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc, according to legal experts.An executive order signed by Trump on Thursday directs federal agencies to clarify the scope of a law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies from liability for illegal content posted by users and allows them to remove lawful but objectionable posts.Legal experts said it was unclear if the Federal Communications Commission would embrace Trump’s view of Section 230 laid out in the order. Even if it does, the agency’s regulations will have no binding legal effect on judges who actually have say over the law. Trump, a prolific Twitter user, has long claimed that the service and other social media platforms silence conservative viewpoints. He signed the order two days after Twitter for the first time prompted readers to check the facts in tweets sent by Trump, warning that his claims about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked.Section 230 contains a provision that allows online platforms like Twitter and Facebook to take down or restrict access to material they determine “in good faith” to be lewd, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.Such restrictions on internet content are generally lawful because the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects free speech, only applies to government actors, not private companies.Alleging that censorship of conservative viewpoints is routine, the draft executive order states that online platforms should not be shielded when they engage in “deceptive or pretextual actions restricting online content.”The order directs the Commerce Department to ask the Federal Communications Commission to clarify the law.Experts said the analysis of Section 230 in Trump’s draft executive order contradicts court decisions that have interpreted the law as providing broad immunity.”A lot of the executive order is bluster,” said Kate Klonick, a professor of internet law at St. John’s University. “It basically casts aside 25 years of judicial precedent.”The FCC’s lawyers are well-aware of these court decisions, Klonick said, and may struggle with how to proceed in the coming months.”It is unclear they [the FCC] are going to want to do something in which they would obviously get smacked down by a court order,” Klonick said.If the FCC does take action, it will likely spark court challenges, and Trump is unlikely to prevail, legal experts said.Klonick said the executive order is a way for Trump to score political points, regardless of whether it has actual impact.Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School, said Trump was trying to use his power as president to frighten social media companies so they do not fact-check him.”It’s a shot across the bow,” Balkin said. Topics : The order “is 95% political theater – rhetoric without legal foundation, and without legal impact,” said Daphne Keller, an expert on internet law at Stanford University.Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer, said he agreed with Trump’s censorship concerns but acknowledged that much of the executive order would not lead to actual reforms.”I think it’s much more of just a leadership statement, or a mission statement, than a blueprint for anything that’s really going to happen,” Randazza said.The White House, Facebook and Twitter declined comment.
Bahamas minister of labor Dion Foulkes Foreigners to take back seat in bid for local jobsNewly- installed Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has issued a directive that Bahamians must fill all available posts before any consideration is given to foreigners.Minister of Labor Dion Foulkes has acted on the order and made it clear that he has already been “very strict” in approving labor certificates for work permits and has denied or deferred several applications since taking office just over two weeks ago.“The Prime Minister has given me directions to ensure that no foreigner gets a permit where there is a Bahamian available to do the job,” Foulkes said while speaking on a local radio talk show yesterday.Noting the Bahamas has “a serious unemployment problem”, Foulkes was adamant there would be no backing down from implementing the policy.“Wherever there is a Bahamian who is qualified to do the job and a foreigner or an expat is applying for that position, we will refuse the application,” he insisted.He cited a recent case where a work permit request from a hotel was turned down because there were unemployed Bahamians qualified to fill the post.“We had an application from a major hotel for a food and beverage director. I declined it, because there are Bahamians who are trained in food and beverage in this country who are unemployed and we know who they are and we are sending some of them to that hotel to be interviewed,” the minister said.Foulkes expressed concern that some companies were trying various tactics to bypass the rule, charging that some had set unfair criteria to deter Bahamians.“For example, say you want a front desk manager at one of the hotels, but (the candidate) must be fluent in four languages. That’s absolutely ridiculous. What that means is they have somebody at their head office who speaks four languages and they want to bring them to Nassau.”He disclosed that where special skills were required, the employer must identify a Bahamian who has skills in that area to train for the post, to eventually take over from the foreign worker.