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by Noah Kazis
RE: the raid on parks and transportation funds. Do you think people would vote for a bond issue, or accept a tax hike, for the explicit purpose of allowing those cashing in and moving out to get more and pay less before they leave? Yet that is always the legislature’s goal.
So you have these bond issues “for the environment” or “for the Second Avenue Subway,” and these dedicated revenues for the roads and the MTA. That is merely how they are sold, not what they are.
Regarding: “BP Could Owe $280 Million. A Day. Just In Civil Charges (NYT)”
Now on C-Span3 10:44 AM, Thursday, June 17, 2010
“How innocent victimes are not road kill,”
– Rep. Ed Markey, Dem., Massachusetts, “Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee”.
Though in this case the theft is from dedicated taxes, be it mortgage recording in the case of the Enviro fund or Metro Mobility/payroll from the MTA. The most amazing gutting was of the Thruway Authority tolls during the ’90′s and 2000′s. Billions in tolls were bonded out to pay operating expenses. That’s why no money for the TZ Bridge, and why even raising tolls on the TZ and/or tolling I-287 only raises a fraction of the cost of a new bridge.
Incidentally, Albany hasn’t come near “Tapping Out” the MTA. Far from it. The MTA is a fat golden goose and Albany is an insatiable wolf. So far, the wolf has settled for stealing a golden egg now and then.
I’m not sure I mind the gutting of the Turnpike Authority. Charging car owners for driving is good regardless of where the money ends up, even if it means the money goes to tax-free pensions that end up subsidizing sprawl in Florida. If the BQE became a turnpike and the resulting income was catapulted to the moon, I’d be happy.
What Streetsblog has made me see recently is how strong state government is relative to other levels of government. We might be technically members of a democratic, powerful nation, but the political system that has the most sway over our day-to-day lives only measures up to about the level of Ukraine or Venezuela.
“What Streetsblog has made me see recently is how strong state government is relative to other levels of government.”
When I tabulated all the flows of funds and levels of employment some year back, I put it this way.
The federal government collects the most money, but it sends most of that right out again in cash payments for Social Security, payments to the health care industry, interest on the debt, and aid payments to the states. It actually does very little, other than defense and the Post Office.
Local governments do most of the actual work of government. But they do so in large part using funds provided by, and under terms set by, state governments.
Although the states also do relatively little other than prisons and higher education, it is they who make most of the decisions on the margin. But how many people yelling about the federal government and the local Mayor understand this?
Berkeley Kills BRT Again
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who abstained when BRT was before the city council, had told BRT backers that he had changed his mind and wanted to put the issue back on the agenda on June 22. AC Transit postponed their vote on the LPA, waiting until after Berkeley acted.
Then, 12 to 15 BRT opponents showed up and spoke at the meeting where the council determines its agenda, and Jesse withdrew the item from the agenda. BRT in Berkeley is now completely dead.
It is very rare for the public to speak at these agenda meetings. There is speculation that another councilmember told the BRT opponents to come in order to change Jesse’s mind about putting this back on the agenda.
Sorry, I meant to post the comment above on sf streetsblog, where I have been posting news about this issue.
> “Two NYPD cops from Brooklyn driving on the wrong side of the street knocked over a bicyclist and then left the bloodied rider without filing a report, the Daily News has learned.”
A couple months ago, a 91st precinct car whipped through a red light, making a right turn the wrong way onto one-way Driggs from Broadway, nearly smashing into the front of my little car, head-on. They stopped half-way down the block to talk to someone on the side of the street, near the entrance to the bridge ped-way.
I don’t know why they think this crap is okay, but they’re extremely negligent and cavalier.
“These guys deserve an award -- Delancey Street Associates, L+M, BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners. And to Council Member Margaret Chin -- turning parking garages into affordable housing is brilliant.”
In response to "Attention EDC: Big Development Projects Don't Need Parking After All"