2009-03-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Cutting From The Bottom Of The Deck

Mayor Michael Bloomberg foresees a terrible flight from the city of all the people making more than $500,000 a year if the state sets a new income tax on the rich. "Five thousand people back in 2006 paid 30 percent of the taxes in New York City," the mayor said in defense of rich people. "If only 1,500 of those people move to Connecticut, that would cut out ten percent of our taxes." The mayor would rather see an increase of the state sales tax, which would boost the city's sales tax to more than 9 percent. The mayor doesn't say what would happen then, but it is clear to us, as it is to many others, that an increase in the city's sales tax would drive more shoppers to the internet and to venues outside the city. Why is the city cutting after-school programs such as kidsmART, firehouses, school positions, child abuse workers and the like when it has the most bloated bureaucracy in the nation? What, after all, do the Borough Presidents do, besides acting as cheerleaders for their boroughs? What does the Public Advocate do? What does the Mayor's Office of Special Projects and Community Events do that is more important than kids and firehouses? There are hundreds of mayoral boards and offices that could be cut without a whimper from the public, but for the fact that they are staffed by politically connected workers. It is time to stop cutting from the bottom of the deck and make some cuts from the top. New York City has always been where the action is, and the rich cannot stand to be too far from the action. Move to bucolic Connecticut, sure. Do business there? We don't think so. The mayor, the governor and their minions are already forcing small businesses and individuals out of the city with a draconian policy of fees, fines and taxes. Recently, the Department of Business began a battle against outdoor advertisements that did not carry the proper sticker indicating that fire-retardant material had been used on the sign or canopy. Fines range from $15,000 to $20,000 per day. Talk about pushing small businesses out of the city. That must stop and the mayor must see the middle class in this city as at least as important as the rich to the survival of the city's health.

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