Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rebate Tsuris

As council members Gentile and Ignizio have pointed out, the refusal of the mayor to give out-or to even delay-the rebate checks to home owners is causing real hardships; and the NY Daily News underscored some of this in an article yesterday: "Sisters Rosalyn Lipsky {no relation} and Mildred Corwin planned to paint the hallways in their two-family house in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. That's been postponed. Italo Sgaraglia and his wife, Eleanor, thought they were going to be cozy and warm this winter in East Elmhurst, Queens. "Now I'm going to have to turn the heat down," said Sgaraglia, 75 and retired. "Eleanor's going to be cold." The Lipskys, Corwins and Sgaraglias, like many other families, have scrapped plans, rebudgeted or will make sacrifices because their $400 property tax rebate checks did not come in the mail the first week of October as promised by the city."

Of course, this is all either a "minor economic issue" for the mayor, or a shiny example of his realism in the face of economic disaster. New Yorkers are not responding charitably: "The shock was immediate. "Everybody needs $400 in this economic meltdown," said Rosemarie Provermo, a Queens homeowner and head of the United Community Civic Association. "For a lot of people," she said, "it means are you going to put a big turkey on the table this Thanksgiving, or just some chicken."

And generally when the shock wears off, it is replaced by something else: "And the anger builds.
"Normally, we put that $400 toward our mortgage that's $2,002 a month," said Lucina Clarke, who lives in a two-family home in Canarsie, Brooklyn, with her husband, Wayne; her mother, Irmene Pascall, and her teenage children. "The mayor pulled the rug out from under us," said Clarke, adding that her husband will have to put in more hours at the medical lab where he works."

The anecdotal evidence is building here, and the city's middle class home owners are ripe for the picking by any decent Bloomberg opponent. The following end quote should be seen as emblematic of the problems the mayor's likely to face in the next election cycle: "Jade Munday, who lives in a semidetached home in Brooklyn's Marine Park, said, "Not having that $400 is hard. Every year we use it to help pay the gas bill. During the winter, it's $160, $170 a month."
Munday, whose husband, Robert, is a lineman with Verizon, has two toddlers and a third child on the way. "My mortgage is $2,500 a month, then we've got $120 for electricity, then gas and water," Munday said. "Really, we could use the money."