Friday, December 19, 2008

One Trick Ponies

The inevitable conclusion to the budget dance between the mayor and the city council was reached yesterday-with the city's home owners getting predictably whacked. As the NY Times reports: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s $1.2 billion property tax increase won approval from the City Council on Thursday, raising homeowners’ bills by 7 percent as the city grapples with a worsening economy and disappearing revenue. As a result of the 33-to-18 vote, annual tax bills will increase by hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars, effective Jan 1."

How sad it is, but given the mayor's nonfeasance over the past seven years-and the council's collusion-there really isn't anything that both parties could do besides hiking our taxes. But, as Simcha Felder points out: "Opponents warned that residents were already overtaxed. Since Mr. Bloomberg took office, property taxes have increased by 18.5 percent. “Today, the Council votes to take the bucket to the same old well and ask homeowners to bear the brunt of a swelling budget among dwindling revenues,” Councilman Simcha Felder of Brooklyn said. He added, “I believe that is unacceptable and that will hurt all New Yorkers in this difficult time.”

Bloomberg, with little new to say on much of anything, sings his hackneyed old song: "In a statement after Thursday’s vote, Mr. Bloomberg said: “It’s never popular to phase out a tax cut or reduce agency spending, but they are the right choices to avoid far greater and longer-lasting pain. We will not repeat the mistakes of the 1970s, which crippled city finances and nearly destroyed our quality of life.”

Now what we need from Thompson and Weiner is the kind of creative critiques we have already gotten on a state level from DiNapoli, Cuomo and Suozzi; trenchant analyses of how to reduce the size of city government-and provide services in a more creative and economical manner; something Mike Bloomberg has even given a thought to.