Opinion

Productivity, in the age of telecommuting

By SHONA ST. ANGELO // Many companies across the country, such as Aetna and Dell, are allowing employees to work remotely. Employees save money normally spent on gas and transit costs, and save valuable hours normally spent commuting to an office. Telecommuting can also benefit employers, who can take advantage of savings from decreased occupancy costs and travel-expense reimbursements. Money saved can then be spent on customer acquisition and marketing, which will ultimately yield higher…


Fundraising innovation: Less risk in games of chance

By SEAN WILKINSON, CPA // Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes to remove the red tape restricting nonprofit organizations’ fundraising efforts through raffles and other games of chance. The FY2018 Executive Budget will update outdated bureaucratic laws that will increase the potential of charitable organizations searching for support. Organizations that depend on these revenue-generating streams will benefit tremendously in the years to come. For example, the American Legion, a veteran’s organization, currently raises money by selling pull-tabs,…


Local zoning? Could be an executive order for that

By MICHAEL SAHN and NICHOLAS CAPPADORA // President Trump has made it clear that his administration is dedicated to reducing and in some cases eliminating many areas of government regulation. These areas include health care, financial services, environmental regulation, education and energy. Will these anti-regulation efforts reach down to local land use and zoning regulations and policy? Most certainly. Local governments – counties, cities, towns and villages – have always had the primary jurisdiction to…


Tax controversy? You need a franchise QB

By TIM McHALE // With Super Bowl LI upon us, we have a great matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. One thing these two teams share in common is their superb quarterback play, featuring presumptive 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, who is already a four-time Super Bowl champion. Each of these players is currently playing to the level of a “franchise quarterback.” While the exact definition of a franchise…


You can chews how you save the planet

By JOHN KOMINICKI // Two tiny Silicon Valley companies have vowed to tame the Earth’s surging levels of atmospheric methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases out there and 28 times more likely to cause global warming than carbon dioxide. Their goal: An all-vegetable burger that looks, cooks and tastes like ground meat. Sort of. Now, vegetarian takeout may not sound like much of a contribution to the clean air effort, what with the…


Trump and environment: States must pick up slack

By MIRIAM E. VILLANI // We can expect many changes as the country transitions from the Obama administration to a Trump administration. One of several issues that will receive a lot of attention is the environment. It is still early and not possible to know what the Trump administration will do with regard to environmental protection and energy regulation. However, Trump made certain promises during his campaign and has started to outline his plans. He’s also…


President Donald Trump and your taxes

By EDWARD McWILLIAMS// Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8 after an election season that focused heavily on taxes – both the president-elect’s refusal to release his personal returns and his plan to change the U.S. tax code. In addition to winning the presidency, the Republican Party also retained its majority in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. With the president and Congress politically and ideologically…


Downtown development: Jobs are Job No. 1

By ROSALIE DRAGO // The Governor’s Conference on Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance, held Wednesday in Melville, facilitated an important dialogue around the hot topic of downtown redevelopment. Long Island currently has over a dozen town centers in various stages of redevelopment or revitalization, so discussion on this topic is both relevant and timely. But for downtown development and revitalization to achieve its potency as an economic engine, consideration for jobs – What will they…


Infrastructure bonding: Pay now, or pay more later

By MICHAEL SAHN// A recent front page article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Localities Opt for Less Debt over New Infrastructure” reports that local governments are not borrowing to pay for desperately needed infrastructure improvements – despite the fact that interest rates for government bond issues for infrastructure have dropped to their lowest levels in 20 years, Why? Government officials are hesitant to take on long-term debt in a fiscal environment in which they…


Big projects deserve better environmental oversight

By MICHAEL SAHN // This year’s state budget includes hundreds of millions of dollars for big projects on Long Island, including a proposed bridge or tunnel to Westchester and a deep-water port in Shoreham, a new customs station at MacArthur Airport and money to beef up the Ronkonkoma and Nassau Hub projects. There’s funding for new R&D facilities, an engineering school, even money for a third track on the LIRR. If we are going to…


Can entrepreneurship keep you young?

By JOHN KOMINICKI // New Hyde Park resident Mary Putre is on the waiting list for “Shark Tank,” the insanely popular TV show on which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a group of cranky investors. They say it could take another year or so to get her on camera. That’s not because her product – a snow shovel to which icy sludge will not stick – is a potential victim of climate change. The wait reflects…


Russian space geeks hitch their wagon to a star

Have an extra $7 you can’t figure out what to do with? You could help launch the first manmade star. That’s the smallest Kickstarter donation level for Mayak, a giant reflector some renegade Russian scientists hope to put into orbit this summer, making it the brightest object in the night sky. Um, Kickstarter? Yes. These are private, nongovernment scientists who have spent two years designing, building and stratosphere-testing the device, which Roscosmos, the Russian NASA,…


Infrastructure and other fashion necessities

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s promise of millions of dollars in new infrastructure projects for Long Island is a lot like getting socks and underwear for your birthday. They’re useful, but a bit of a letdown when you’re hoping for a new bike. And the governor has certainly been handing out Schwinn Phantoms in other parts of the state. $4 billion overhauls of LaGuardia and JFK airports. $1 billion to spruce up the Javits Center. Hundreds of…


Marvin Minsky and the future of the workplace

By JOHN KOMINICKI // Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence whose work helped create the personal computer and the Internet, died in Boston over the weekend at the age of 88. The son of a noted NYC ophthalmologist, Minsky attended a string of private science and prep schools, then Harvard and Princeton, before settling in as a professor at MIT. There, with colleague John McCarthy, Minsky founded the school’s Artificial Intelligence…


Apartment development claws its way back

By JOHN KOMINICKI Getting an apartment on Long Island is a lot like ordering a lobster. Well, except one of them doesn’t have mushy green stuff inside. (And if it does, I suggest you don’t rent it.) No, I’m referring to the concept of “market price,” which is usually what the menu says next to the lobster entrée. It’s restaurant-speak for “We plan to charge you the most we possibly can.” And so it goes…