Friday, September 26, 2008

Michael One Note

It now looks as if the "inevitable" reinstatement of the property tax increase may not be such a foregone conclusion. According to the NY Daily News: "At least 20 City Council members have gone on record opposing Mayor Bloomberg's bid to rescind the 7% property tax cut in January, saying it would cause too much pain to middle-class homeowners."Many people think that raising taxes is a given, but for many of us, raising taxes is a heavy lift on people we have gone back to year after year after year," said Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), who is working with Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) to round up opponents."

Well, good for them. It's about time that someone stands up for the tax paying homeowners-and calls, hopefully, the mayor on his New York Times-driven tax philosophy: "You can't go back and tax homeowners," Felder said. "You can't do that until you try to cut a lot more and try to reinstate the commuter tax." The mayor, however, has a cut-and-run fiscal policy that has never systematically examined the way the government operates; and how it could work more efficiently. Bloomberg's too busy figuring out how to pay kids to learn and incentivize families-through cash payments-to lift themselves out of poverty.

All of these liberal schemes have been a distraction from the hard work that should have been done over the past seven years-when the city was flush. This is not simply putting money aside for a rainy day, which is a good thing indeed. It does mean, however, a greater appreciation for the folks in the boroughs-those who rely on clean streets, functional schools and public safety-who are struggling in the current economic downturn.

The mayor's notion of vital services is more expansive, and his Hobson's Choice rhetoric is misleading: "Bloomberg scoffed at the opposition yesterday, saying the money had to come from somewhere. "They can come up with another revenue source; we're certainly happy to do it. They could, for example, say that their neighborhoods don't need any services," the mayor said."

If Mayor Mike had been streamlining government and cutting the city's tax burden we would have beem seeing a great deal more economic growth post 9/11. Bloomberg, a creature of the financial markets, has simply little feel for the small business sector that does drive the economy; instead, his policies have driven these folks away.

And the real estate tax increase will hurt renters-residents and store owners alike: "Bloomberg will face opposition to raising taxes from outside City Hall, too - landlords and their tenants also fear the impact. "It has a direct effect on rents," said renters' advocate Michael McKee of Tenants PAC. Added Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords, "It's a disproportionate impact, real hard on the small guys."

Given the mayor's economic philosophy, he's exactly the wrong fella to ask to come down to Washington to spearhead any economic recovery. If he does go, however, at least the city might better understand the concept of addition by subtraction.