Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mike Bloomberg, Bodeguero!

Politics often has a way of unintentionally bordering on the hilarious. So it is with the mayor's response to Gifford Miller's press conference on small business. The Speaker (and kudos to him), was attacking the Bloomberg administration's regulatory war on neighborhood stores and vowing to roll back the increased ECB fines that the agency recently promulgated.

The mayor, not known for his sense of humor, responded to the speaker's legislative initiative by telling a press gathering that he's supportive of small business because "I was a small businessman...I know what it's like to be struggling and try to make a payroll." This is kind of like an old man saying he understands toddlers because, you know, "I used to be a baby myself once."

The reality is the Mike Bloomberg has long ago forgotten what it's like to "make a payroll" and his administration has been characterized by favoritism to large enterprise and indifferent or hostile to small stores. Miller got it just right when he said, "Big-box stores and chain stores, coupled with a tough economy, are hammering away at our small businesses."

The mayoral comment that symbolizes just how out of touch Bloomberg is with the little guy came right after he pushed through the "bodega tax," an 1800% increase in the levy on cigarettes. When told that the bodegas were complaining about the hit they were taking, one that now amounts to over $250 million a year, the mayor said, "It's a minor economic issue".