Monday, November 10, 2008

Suck It Up Gotham

© 2008 Leighann Lord

NYC, the epicenter of the financial crisis, is beginning to show the strain. Facing a $4 billion budget gap, Mike Bloomberg – The Mayor Who Would Be King – has a plan. If President Elect Barack Obama plans to go through the national budget line by line with a scalpel, then King-Mayor Mike is using a hack saw.

The most outrageous suggestion is a six cent tax on plastic grocery bags. Inexplicably, I’ve been hoarding plastic shopping bags for at least a decade. I’m not sure why. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with my deep down fear of becoming a bag lady, but apparently I’m just psychic. My subconscious foresaw a day when my obsession with plastic bags would turn instantly from warning sign to wise investment. Take that Wall Street.

I’m sure the save the planet people love this proposed bag tax plan. In the long run it’ll encourage The City to go green but right now, Gothamites – who are already heavily nickel and dimed – are only seeing red at the very suggestion that they pay for something that’s free.

I thought my personal bag stash would insulate me from the tumult, but alas no. Rumor has it that the tax would be levied even if you bring your own plastic bags. Why not just stick a gun in face? If it comes to pass, I plan to buy a week’s worth of groceries. When they go to bag it I’ll say, "No, no. I can’t afford the bags." Then I’ll carry my groceries out to the car one item at a time. Take that Stop & Shop.

The hard, cold financial fact is that the budget must be balanced by both cutting expenses and raising revenue. Perhaps the more outrageous suggestions are meant to make the harder ones more palatable, like eliminating five engine companies. That’s a tough one, but for those of you who are unemployed – and according to the latest numbers there are a lot of you – please try having your fires during the day when there will be more firemen on duty.

This also means we’ll all have to cut back on those famous NYC midnight bonfires and the indoor marsh mellow roasts. Instead of buying scented candles to set the mood, buy fresh batteries for your smoke detector. Nothing says romance like not dying in a fire. Unless you’re a cannibal, the aroma of burning flesh is not that arousing.

Plans include scraping the January 2009 Police Academy class. A courteous heads up for the criminals who like to plan ahead, and a warning to the rest that we are on our own. I worry this cut will jeopardize The City’s "If You See Something, Say Something" program.

"Officer I’m being mugged!" said the Victimized Citizen.
"So am I!" said the Victimized Cop.
The news isn’t all bad, the proposed budget provides for 200 additional meter maids. I can only hope I won’t be mugged on the way to my car to put money in the meter.

On the egregious scale, King-Mayor Mike plans on closing an STD Clinic in Harlem. Translation: Fuck you Harlem. Guess you should have been more supportive a three term mayoralty. Perhaps if patients haven’t spent all their money on smoke detectors they can invest in high speed internet and avail themselves to the wonders of cyber sex. They should probably budget a little extra money for condoms as well. No one’s mentioned it yet, but I’m pretty sure condoms will be included in the six cent plastic bag tax.

If they try and charge you, demur and say, "That’s okay, I’ll wear it out." Take that King-Mayor!

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