Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pataki and Bloomberg: Smokey Collusion

The NY Times is reporting today that the Governor Pataki has agreed to give the mayor the extra 50 cents a pack that he was complaining that the governor's original budget proposal had shortchanged the city out of. Once again the mayor is quoted, using the same incantation that bears no relationship to reality, "There's a clear correlation: you raise your cigarette taxes, fewer children go and smoke."

But, as the Times points out, "One obstacle could be the State Senate..." The Senate's majority leader, Joe Bruno, has explicitly stated that there should be no new taxes in the new state budget. As we have commented before Mayor Bloomberg's veiled challenge to Bruno, he has through aides threatened to challenge Republican incumbent Serph Maltese in the fall, could work in favor of those who are trying to prevent any cigarette tax hike without the state's enforcement of existing law against Indian retailers.

Indications are that Bruno is not taking kindly to being threatened. In reports today he says that, "the mayor should know 'that bullies end up getting bloody noses.'" Bruno, an ex-prize fighter also uses words like "ingrate" to describe those who say that the city is being shortchanged by the State Senate.