Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Billy Joel Missed By Eight Years


I've seen the lights go out on Broadway-
I saw the Empire State laid low.
And life went on beyond the Palisades,
They all bought Cadillacs-
And left there long ago.

We held a concert out in Brooklyn-
To watch the Island bridges blow.
They turned our power down,
And drove us underground-
But we went right on with the show...

I've seen the lights go out on Broadway-
I saw the ruins at my feet,
You know we almost didn't notice it-
We'd see it all the time on Forty-Second Street.

They burned the churches up in Harlem-
Like in that Spanish Civil War-
The flames were everywhere,
But no one really cared-
It always burned up there before...

I've seen the rats lie down on Broadway-
I watched the mighty skyline fall.
The boats were waiting at the Battery,
The union went on strike-
They never sailed at all.

They sent a carrier out from Norfolk-
And picked the Yankees up for free.
They said that Queens could stay,
They blew the Bronx away-
And sank Manhattan out at sea....

You know those lights were bright on Broadway-
But that was so many years ago...
Before we all lived here in Florida-
Before the Mafia took over Mexico.
There are not many who remember-
They say a handful still survive...
To tell the world about...
The way the lights went out,
And keep the memory alive....

He may have been talking about a different method of New York's demise, but the lyrics are prescient nonetheless. David Paterson, New York's Governor, has a budget in place that the legislature will vote on today, and it spells bad news for the people of the state.

Touted as a necessary and reluctantly-arrived-at plan to raise taxes on the "wealthiest New Yorkers", there is much the people don't know about this $132B budget and the means by which it will be implemented. Suffice it to say, it will cost everyone in the state, not just the "wealthy".

According to New York State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, the state squandered roughly $6 billion in federal stimulus money. Paterson said they used the money for deficit reduction. And yet, we're still about to be hammered from every direction. While some will escape an increase in their personal income taxes, they are not to be spared from the increases coming on all services and goods.

Among the things we're to be hit with if this budget passes today's vote:
DMV registration fee up 55%
Driver's license fee up 55%
A $100 state fee on tax preparation
Increased taxes on beer and wine, hunting and fishing licenses, tobacco (on top of the federal government's recent 62 cents per pack tax increase), health insurance premiums, gas, phone and electric surcharges and cell phone fees.

Add to this the cessation of the star rebate for senior property owners, and it is plain that the pain will be spread much more widely than "just the wealthy". The legislature is split thirty republicans to thirty-two democrats, so we must hope that at least one democrat votes nay on this monstrosity, as virtually every republican is opposed to its passage. As Skelos points out, this bugdet will place an additional burden on a typical family of four of $2,400.00 per year. That is unacceptable in this current ecomomic state.

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