Today’s Headlines

  • NYC Has Stepped Up Parking Enforcement Under Bloomberg (NYT)
  • John Liu Reacts: ‘City Regards the Driving Public as a Cash Cow’ (Daily Politics)
  • Ravitch Commission Expected to Recommend Payroll Tax (News)
  • City and State Officials Play Hot Potato With MTA Rescue Plan (NYT)
  • Russianoff: Spread the Pain Around (News)
  • Newsday Gets Behind Higher Car Registration Fees
  • Bike Poolers Brave Queens Boulevard (NYT)
  • High-Speed Rail Corridors Could Boost Local Transit Systems (Grist)
  • Post Hypes Fuel Cell Cars
  • An Appreciation of NYC Street Corners (NYT)
  • gecko

    John Liu Reacts: ‘City Regards the Driving Public as a Cash Cow’ (Daily Politics)

    Absolutely absurd. This city thrives despite automobiles, not because of them.

    We’d probably have no problem getting the Olympics here if it were not for the destructive environment they have caused.

    Costs far outstrip benefits: about $1.5 billion in road accidents; $13 billion in congestion alone.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Note that what Ravitch is proposing, and trying to get approval of those who matter, is a PAYROLL TAX on WAGES.

    NOT the investment income of the rich, those who have supported higher government debt to offset income tax cuts and breaks for 25 years.

    NOT the retirement income of those who ran up those debts and left them to the transit riders of today. Income that currently is subject to NO state and local tax in NYC.

    NOT the income of public employees either, and here is why.

    A payroll tax might be paid by the company, but so is the income tax, via withholding. The actual loser depends on power in the labor market — does the employer force the employee pay by offsetting by diminished wages or higher health insurance copayments, or does the employee force the employer to pay? Who will have more power in the labor market, based on supply and demand, the next few years?

    Well, by arbitration, contract or law, public employees cannot have their wages cut or their health insurance contributions (generally zero) increased, so you can rest assured that if the payroll tax is assessed on the City of New York then the taxpayers of the City of New York, and minimum wage workers who will see their services cut, will be made to suffer.

    Those who have had the best deals will be asked to give up nothing. They were probably the people who were allowed to testify at the closed “public hearing.”

    When will the debate be held asking why it’s fair for future wage earners to be screwed by a $27 billion debt left to them by current retirees who wanted more for less, while those retirees pay nothing? NEVER!

  • Larry Littlefield

    Really, this whole two-step is insulting — propose even worse for regular people, then slightly better, expecting gratitude. What are we — cows or sheep.

    But these are just news stories. I want to see the report before blowing my stack.


  • The next Queens Blvd Bike Pool is on Friday 12/12 leaving the Queensboro Bridge bike path, Queens side, at 6:30pm. Should be a lot of fun.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Well if the rap against congestion pricing, largely unchallenged, was that it wasn’t “broad-based” then “spreading the pain around” is the antidote. As far as spreading the pain around though a sales tax increase is even more broad-based than a payroll tax because the huge under the table, off the books sector gets hit as well. To tax payroll will give an increased competitive advantage to those employers who manage to hire people “off the books”, wherever that might be.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The trouble is our sales tax rate is already sky high, and is going higher regardless of the MTA.

    Meanwhile, again these are press reports, but the Ravitch proposal is for just PARTIAL funding of a STRIPPED DOWN capital plan that brings ongoing normal replacement below the level required to stop deterioration.

    Unless Ravitch plans not to spend the additional payroll tax and toll revenue as it comes in, but bond against it, meaning paying for five years of investment for 30 or more, and being in an even worse situation five years from now.

    That’s what they did with the 1/8 sales tax increase for the 2005 to 2009 plan. All the future taxes we’ll be forced to collect will have been spent a year from now.

  • “the city regards the driving public as a cash cow” —Liu

    Well he’s half right. I’d be willing to forgive their decades of trampling around the city and crapping all over the transit system if they would put themselves, or just their cars, out to pasture. Otherwise, yes, this trough is going to be cash-only.

  • MIndy

    check out this piece from the State Island Advance:
    “Caught on Film: Motorist Madness”

  • From Mindy’s article:

    Paragallo himself has seen drivers stop at lights, look around to make sure there isn’t a cop looking and blow right through.

    Funny, people keep telling me that only cyclists do that!

  • vnm

    The parking ticket article is fascinating.

    While the city has worked to explain the tactics it uses to curtail crime, its strategy in issuing parking summonses remains a poorly understood area of law enforcement

    So, the Times is getting behind the windshield mentality and flatly saying that parking illegally is something other than a “crime”?

    Since Mr. Bloomberg took office, the city has hired 793 more traffic enforcement agents and doubled some penalties, collecting 64 percent more in fines in fiscal year 2008 than it did in 2002. During the last fiscal year, it collected more than $624 million in parking fines — more than the city spends to run the Department of Transportation.

    First off, bravo for the Bloomberg administration. But apparently even doubling some penalties is not enough to prevent people from continuing to violate the parking regulations.

    “It’s a growing recognition that the city is using parking enforcement as a means of revenue generation, not as a means of traffic management or safety management,” he said.

    What’s wrong with revenue generation? A parking ticket represents a transfer of wealth from a privileged minority (car owners), to help fund important city services that all depend on – car owners and non owners alike.

    “Chief Scagnelli will say, ‘Let’s not forget why we’re all here: We’re here to move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce injuries, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce accidents, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic, reduce fatalities, move traffic, move traffic, move traffic,’ ” Mr. Pilecki said.

    A 1960’s-era traffic engineer?