Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tax Impasse

In what amounts to an unusual situation, the City Council and the mayor are at an impasse over the budget negotiations because of the mayor's desire to raise property taxes. As the NY Sun reports: "A fight over property taxes is derailing budget talks between Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, with council leaders walking away from negotiations and insisting they won't agree to a property tax hike they say the mayor is pushing."

Adding to the spectacle of city law makers balking on a tax increase is the fact that Speaker Quinn is siding with her colleagues against the mayor: "Council leaders who called off negotiations yesterday say they are frustrated by the mayor's refusal to give way on the positions he's staked out. Council members said Speaker Christine Quinn agreed to the decision, marking a change from her normally close working relationship with the mayor."

The council's looking to raise the hotel tax, but the mayor-correctly in our view-sees this as a business killer, What's missing, of course, is the concept of more responsible government-more efficient and less expensive; an idea that the mayor sees as foreign since his first days in office were accompanied by a whopping real estate tax increase; and little he's done since demonstrates he understands how much the city's high tax environment hurts residents and businesses alike.

Sp now, with the mayor's term winding into the homestretch, we get a political stalemate with both sides looking to raise some form of taxation. As the NY Daily News reports: "Planned negotiations between the Council's budget team and the mayor's side collapsed over key sticking points like school funding and the reimposition of a 7% property tax hike. "We're not going to participate in one-hand clapping," said City Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn)."

Which leaves some of us, including council minority leader Jimmy Oddo, as odd men out. As he told the Sun: "The council's minority leader, James Oddo of Staten Island, said he finds himself in a "no man's land" when it comes to budget negotiations at City Hall because he disagrees with some of the budget restorations other council members are seeking. "And I certainly would disagree with the notion of raising taxes to pay for them," he said."