In Reason, Ronald Bailey fact-checks the New York Times on the purported environmental catastrophe near Buffalo that touched off a hundred copycat toxic-tort episodes as well as the federal Superfund program (Mar. 24).
Administrators of upstate New York cities are complaining that the cost of litigation saps their budgets: Rochester paid out $443,000 in 2002, while Buffalo writes between $700,000 and $900,000 worth of settlement checks a year. But maybe they should count their blessings: “Last year, despite its massive deficit, New York City paid out $525 million.” (Rick Armon, “More citizens taking governments to court”, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Jul. 28). The figures represent a municipal budgetary burden of about $2 for each of Rochester’s 219,000 residents, perhaps closer to $3 if some share of the $253,000 in outlays for surrounding Monroe County is ascribed to the city. The comparable figure for New York City (in which city and county government are merged) is $65 per resident or $260 for a family of four.