Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To celebrating history. The city of Johnstown, which has a rich history, will be the site of several history-themed events this year. The plans include the May 17 Johnson Jog, which involves a course that will take runners, joggers and walkers past Johnstown’s historic sites; a July 20 event downtown observing the 240th anniversary of the death of Sir William Johnson; and an encampment and Battle of Johnstown re-enactment Sep. 20 and 21. We hope local residents put these events on their calendars now. We’re sure they will be enjoyable and educational.

JEERS – To a deadly tax. New York is one of 15 states that still impose an estate tax. The tax is hitting a growing number of middle-class households, small-business owners and farmers, according to a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy. The federal government exempts the first $5.25 million of a person’s estate. New York, however, only exempts estates valued below $1 million. New York taxed more estates in 2012 – nearly 4,000 – than the federal government taxed nationally, according to the report. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes raising the state’s death tax threshold to match the federal level and lowering the top rate to 10 percent over four years. This change would exempt nearly 90 percent of all estates from the tax. The tax, as it stands, is hurting economic growth. The state Legislature should support Cuomo’s proposal.

CHEERS – To a good vision. We were pleased to see the new owners of Pine Brook Golf Course want to continue to operate the place as a golf course. The owners also have ambitious plans to possibly build condos and town homes around the course. One of the new operators, Jim Simek, also said they are considering putting in a lighting system and creating a par-three nine-hold “twilight” course on the property. He said the owners at some point may remodel the pro shop and use the clubhouse as a banquet hall. We hope the grand plans eventually come together. In the meantime, it will be nice to just see the golf course reopen in the spring.