Monday, July 28, 2014


I moved to New York in 1981 -- over half a lifetime ago. Life isn't always easy here, nor is it cheap. I discovered the latter the day I unpacked my bags, when the subway fare jumped from 60 to 75 cents. Seeing that it's now $2.50, I should have enjoyed it while I could. 

Forbes recently listed Manhattan as one of the most expensive US cities, driving many people to the relatively inexpensive wilds of, for instance, Indianapolis. But there are times when City Hall acts like a nervous Upper East Side parent who wants to make sure Junior gets everything he wants, even when Junior doesn't ask for it.  From the New York Post:

Recently, CBS announced that when David Letterman retires and funnyman Colbert succeeds him as host of “The Late Show,” the program will stay in New York. For a price, that is.
That price turns out to be similar to the Jimmy Fallon tax credit the state paid to get “The Tonight Show” to film here.
In that deal, NBC got more than $20 million in tax credits, along with another several million for studio construction.
Under this new deal, CBS will get $11 million from taxpayers over the next five years — plus another $5 million in grants to renovate the fabled Ed Sullivan Theatre.  

Toscanini can barely concentrate while
conducting the NBC Symphony, knowing that
he's not getting no damn tax break.
Let me tell you, I am soooooo happy that we New Yorkers are forking over that kind of dough to make sure Jimmy Fallon can continue to do his Neil Young impressions from 30 Rock -- where producer Lorne Michaels said the show was going to broadcast from all along anyway. The boys at the Peacock Network must have learned from their former owners, GE, which, as we know, paid $0,000,000,000 in federal taxes last year (that's "zero" with a z). Remember, something's gotta offset Fallon's $12-million salary. 

Ed Sullivan had to trap
the rodents himself.
Stephen Colbert's salary at CBS is unknown at this time, but you can figure it'll be plenty more than his current $6-million payday at Comedy Central. And while the $11-million thank-you from New York taxpayers is chump change compared to what NBC gets, that extra fiver for new drapes and Butcher's Wax for the fabled Ed Sullivan stage must take the sting out of it. (Don't slip when you come out from behind the curtain, Stephen!) Just so you don't think we're not getting anything out of these deals, tickets to both programs are free. 

I used to take offense at City Hall's largesse, but have decided to look at things differently. In fact, I'm putting our fine elected leaders on warning. If I don't get a jumbo tax break, I'm leaving New York.  
Now before you go and say I'm not a business so I don't keep anyone employed, let me correct you. Or at least half-correct you. While it's true I'm not a business (although as far as the IRS is concerned, I am when I make over a certain amount for freelancing), I certainly do keep people employed.

Every time I shop at a store or dine at a restaurant, I see a butt-load of workers whose jobs depend on people like me. Whenever I slap my $2.50 down to ride the subway, I know there are drivers, cleaners, engineers, and rat-killers who would be out of a job if it not for me. If I need to tank up a rented car, it's not like I can pray that it fills itself. I have to go somewhere... and pump the thing myself. But I didn't install that gas pump!

Now the only place you can open a door to get a piece
of pie is your kitchen.
And let's not leave out my wife. Ann Klein wouldn't be where she is today without the little lady. The Bronx Botanical Garden would wilt. And don't get me started on her barber, or barberess, or whatever you call women who cut hair. My wife and I are singlehandedly... no, double-handedly...well, if you want to get technical, quadruple-handedly keeping New York's economy from going the way of Howard Johnson's, the Automat, and A-Rod.

We're not asking for $20-million. Or $11-million. In fact, something in the low six-figures would do nicely. And as for renovation, we could use a new kitchen and re-grouting for the bathroom. Just think of all the people we could hire with that dough. 

Remember, Mayor de Blasio, there are plenty of barberesses in Indianapolis who would love to cut my wife's hair.

1 comment:

Kevin Thomsen said...

They wouldn't meet my price so I moved. And boy are they sorry.