News from the Associated Press - November 14, 2013

Associated Press
November 14, 2013

NY commission changes in sales, other taxes

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York commission examining tax fairness has proposed changes in the state's sales, estate and franchise taxes.

The panel outlines proposals meant to modernize the tax system and make it simpler, fairer and more affordable.

They want to eliminate the estate tax on 73 percent of New Yorkers by raising the exemption threshold from $1 million to $3 million, saying it now wrongly targets middle-class taxpayers. They propose revising sales tax exemptions to help low-income residents, simplifying corporate and bank franchise taxes and annually evaluating business tax credits to determine their effectiveness.

The report released Thursday says state and local governments levied about $146 billion in taxes for the most recent fiscal year.


Cornell fires lacrosse coach Ben DeLuca

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — Cornell University has fired men's lacrosse coach Ben DeLuca, two months after the team's fall season was canceled because of hazing.

Athletic director Andy Noel says new leadership is required. Assistant coach Matt Kerwick will serve as the interim coach.

The college announced the cancellation in September after an investigation determined upperclassmen had hazed freshman players who were made to drink beer to the point where some vomited.

Last year, a university fraternity was found guilty of hazing in the alcohol poisoning death of a Cornell student. Authorities said a 19-year-old sophomore from Brooklyn died after drinking too much alcohol during a hazing ritual.

In three seasons under DeLuca, a former Cornell player and assistant coach, the team went 37-11 overall and 16-2 in the Ivy League.


Truckers sue over NY Thruway tolls to canal system

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A national trucking group has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the diversion of New York Thruway tolls for state canal maintenance.

American Trucking Associations says it sued Thursday in the Southern District of New York, claiming that the inflated commercial tolls violate truckers' constitutional rights under the Commerce Clause. The truckers want the practice to stop.

Legislation switching the Canal System to the Thruway Authority was enacted in 1992. The trucking group claims that the authority spent more than $100 million of toll money on the canals last year.

A spokesman for the authority says it has not been served with court papers and has no comment.

The Thruway Authority board last December dropped plans for a 45-percent increase in truck tolls.


Pa. paper: Sorry for panning Gettysburg Address

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania newspaper says it's sorry it didn't recognize the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address 150 years ago.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg on Thursday retracted a dismissive editorial penned by its Civil War-era predecessor, The Harrisburg Patriot & Union.

The president's speech is now considered a triumph of American oratory. But the retraction notes the newspaper's November 1863 coverage said it amounted to "silly remarks" that deserved a "veil of oblivion."

The paper now says it "regrets the error" of not seeing the speech's "momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance."

An event to remember the 150th anniversary of the speech is scheduled for Tuesday in Gettysburg.


NY law OKs testing snowmobiles to limit noise

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved new standards for measuring snowmobile noise and identifying sleds that can be ticketed for being too loud.

Both central New York sponsors of the law say it gives police the ability to crack down on loud, after-market exhaust systems and should prompt more landowners to open their property to snowmobilers.

The New York State Snowmobile Association says some landowners have recently closed trails because of those illegal sled modifications.

The measure outlaws operating a snowmobile without a working muffler that keeps noise below 78 decibels at full throttle measured from 50 feet away.

It also bans snowmobiles putting out 88 decibels at 4,000 rpm as measured from about 12 feet behind a stationary sled. That will use a test developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.