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Oneida County Legislator Ed Welsh Says Deal With Oneidas Is A No Win Situation [AUDIO]

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Oneida County Legislator Ed Welsh shared his thoughts and gave some background on what has led to the proposed agreement between New York State, the Oneida Nation and Madison and Oneida Counties.

Welsh joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning heading into the Memorial Day weekend, also touching on current gas prices and his predictions for the summer driving season.

Segment 1

  • Welsh is also the Central Region GM of AAA New York, and has been the host Autotalk, an automotive program that airs Saturday morning’s at 8 on WIBX for 26 years running
  • Welsh says he has never spent a dollar with any of the Oneida Nation Enterprises, because the outstanding tax and land issues were unresolved. Welsh said he didn’t want to hypocritical in the that regard, but doesn’t hold it against any other elected officials who’ve patronized the Nation’s businesses while the situation was in limbo
  • ‘I’ve used more hand cleaner in the political business than I ever did fixing cars for a living,’ Welsh said
  • Welsh was ‘shocked’ to receive word that a deal had been struck between Governor Cuomo, the Oneidas and the counties
  • None of the language of the agreement can be changed by the Oneida County Board, it’s a take it or leave it
  • Welsh feels there is no other alternative, but still wonders, ‘What happens if [Oneida County] turns down the deal
  • Welsh says the county sees annual payments of about $4.5 million dollars currently from New York State to cover tax revenue from liquor sales at OIN properties. He says that will go away, whether or not the county approves the deal
  • If Madison or Oneida Counties do not accept the deal, Governor Cuomo will move forward without one or both of the parties, Welsh said
  • Welsh theorizes that if Oneida County opts out of the deal, then continues litigation against the Oneidas, he expects Governor Cuomo and New York State would be against the county, and wouldn’t help pay for the county legal bills, as it currently does

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Segment 2

  • Judy Bachman of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) calls in and says regardless of any agreement, CERA will continue with its legal cases to settle the issue
  • Welsh says legislators have to vote up or vote down the deal. ‘This is the hand we were dealt.’

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 Segment 3

  • Welsh on gas prices: Utica-Rome market tends to have the highest average price for gas in Upstate New York.
  • Explanation of where surrounding markets get their gas from and why Utica is different. Plus, he says there are few gas retailers and more ‘re-sellers’ in the area now, meaning less competition
  • Welsh explains why some stations offer discounts to members – it’s because the retailer avoids paying a percentage to credit card companies by having its own access to your account. ”The avoid the merchant charges.”

 

Segment 4

  • Utica-Rome is currently only a couple cents above the national average (3.67 – 3.65). The area is normally 20-cents higher than the national average, indicating prices dips this spring didn’t go as low as the rest of the country
  • Summer gas is more expensive because of various pollution lowering ‘blends’ made only in the warmest months
  • Non-ethanol gas is not healthy for smaller engines found in lawn mowers, snowmobiles and weed-wackers. It has to do with the rubber parts found in the engines
  • Gas prices in New York – federal road tax is over 18%, plus the NY State road tax accounts as much as 70-cents of the current price per gallon
  • Ed’s summer price prediction – prices should increase another 20-cents this summer, peaking just under $3.90

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