Today was a disgusting day of bad news in New York City.
Last night (which I will spin into 'today's news'), Governor Patterson proposed a long list of new taxes and tax increases on all sorts of goods and services. Like what? A sales tax on sports tickets. A return of the sales tax on clothing. A whopping 18% sales sax on non-diet sodas and high calorie soft drinks. A sales tax on movie theater tickets. A higher tax on car rentals. And a sales tax on downloaded entertainment, from iTunes to porn. In other words, a tax on a lot of things that are fun.
Then today, the MTA Board approved a the so-called 'Doomsday' recommendation to drastically increase fares on all forms of mass transit. Just last week, it was speculated that the MTA board would have to make a decision between steep fare increases and service cuts. But today, they chose to recommend both. Even Governor Patterson's compromise of a smaller fare hike coupled with higher business payroll taxes was ignored (for now) as the MTA board went ahead with a recommendation for a 23% fare increase. A series of fare increases could reduce ridership and increase incidents of fare evasion. I remember when a single-ride fare was $1.25 (1991-1995). Come July it will either be $2.50 or $3.00. MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin says that higher unemployment will reduce ridership, which has been at a constant record level since the late 1990s. But if the MTA is able to stick to this proposal and increase fares every two years to keep-up with 'inflation' (which right now is deflation), then they will almost surely see a loss of ridership.
In good times, the city funds the state budget very nicely. And in bad times, the state dumps de-facto tax increases and service cuts onto the city. And in really bad times, the Governor shrugs his shoulders, throws in the towel, and says things like
My overall thought is we're going to have to make the tough choices; it's either going to one source of pain or another.
Would now be a good time to suggest that New York City re-visit the idea of seceding from the state and becoming the District of Gotham?