Today’s news:

New Yorkers want state relief from hard economic times

An open letter to Albany:

Employers and employees are taking a beating in these harsh economic times. A census by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) shows a troubling list of streets in Queens with a growing number of businesses closing up, leaving pain and suffering to many small businesses, the engines of our local economy.

According to the survey of 1,730 Queens stores, 211 are closed or about to close. A record 12 percent of these community stores are vacant in Queens, an increase of 200 percent. The alarming average per Queens neighborhood is 21 stores shut.

An even harsher reality is that despite President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill, New York state will not be bailed out of its fiscal crisis completely. We will still be faced with a budget gap of $9 billion or more.

While the gap is smaller due to the federal funding projected for the state, it is still among the biggest budget deficit in years.

With a balanced budget due in a few weeks, each community must demand their elected representative in state government be prudent and wise to exercise their best judgment calls for our betterment.

We demand spending be slashed while protecting programs crucial to our quality of life, such as schools, police, firefighters, sanitation and mass transit.

We demand there be viable reform proposals for Medicare and medical benefits that have grown unaffordable, and that we recoup the large amounts being siphoned off due to fraud, mismanagement and waste.

We demand our legislators shield homeowners and businesses from rising property taxes and caution them not to increase any form of taxation on state residents.

In short, you cannot balance the budget on our backs alone anymore.

Albert Baldeo

Ozone Park

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