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Will Cage Fighting Save New York?

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 20, 2010 8:00 AM |

How low can we go?

Desperate times certainly require desperate measures, but just how low will America sink in an attempt to address its massive fiscal deficits and budgetary pressures? Well, it would appear that New York State is ready to sink pretty low. New York Governor David Paterson released his proposed budget yesterday. WCBS TV in New York provides a comprehensive summary in reporting, Paterson: Budget Has $1 Billion in New Taxes. Let’s navigate.

Governor David Paterson said Tuesday that the days of profligate spending in Albany are over and that starting immediately lawmakers must participate in an “age of accountability.”

That said, the governor’s new budget has $1 billion in new taxes and nearly $800 million in cuts for New York City. 

The words certainly sounded good. 

“Our revenues have crumbled and our budget has crashed and we can no longer afford this spending addiction that we have had for so long,” Paterson said.

And with those words Paterson announced a new $134 billion budget that will please no one except the numbers-crunchers. 

School aid will be slashed by $1 billion. Health care will be slashed by another billion. Aid to NYC is about to get harpooned. 

“The mistakes of the past have lead us to the breaking point,” Paterson said. 

But in addition to the severe belt tightening, the governor said he would need to raise $1 billion in new taxes and fees — some politically controversial. 

* A $1 increase in the cigarette tax, raising the state tax to $3.75. 

* A new soda tax that will cost consumers 1-cent per ounce — a 16-ounce bottle will cost 16 cents more, a 64-ounce bottle 64 cents more. 

* The governor also plans to legalize and sanction cage fighting.  (LD’s highlight)

* And allow wine to be sold in grocery stores. 

* And introduce 50 speed cameras on highways to catch unsuspecting motorists with fines of up to $100. 

New Yorkers have mixed feelings about the cigarette and soda taxes. “Yikes,” was all Patricia Richardson of Mount Vernon could muster. “Sodas I can’t agree with. I think that’s disgusting. I think we should tax cigarettes but not soda.” 

Still, the governor could have difficulty getting the Legislature to go along and not give in to special interests like hospitals and school advocates. 

“The state is facing this huge budget gap. They’ve got to do something except the Legislature is dysfunctional. They don’t care. There’s really no conception of the public interest here. It’s narrow personal interests and it’s narrow institutional interests,” said Baruch College pundit Doug Muzzio. 

Still up in the air is whether the Legislature will save the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s free student fares. 

The governor put some money into the budget for it but the MTA said it needs nearly $200 million more.

Filling budget gaps is painful in practice but fairly simple in procedure. Increase taxes, cut spending, and search for new means to raise revenues. I am not surprised by Paterson’s budget proposal, but I am dismayed by one item. Is legalized cage fighting reflective of a civilized society? I know certain states already approve it and that this so-called sport has worked to improve its image. Excuse me, but I view it as barbaric.

The point of my commentary: where does America draw the line? When does prostitution get legalized nationwide? When will all drug use be approved? Should we run down to our local heroin store perhaps? How about dog fighting? Michael Vick may be pissed but if we need the revenues, come on now.

What do you think of legalizing cage fighting?

LD

  • Duke

    So a group of guys can’t head out for some quick dope, run over and take in some cage fights and top off the night by spending a little time at the house of friendly ladies….all while helping bring down our fiscal deficits?

    These activities may put an entirely new spin on ‘supporting one’s country.’

    Sodom and Gomorrah anybody?

  • Matt

    Larry –

    I agree with you 100% on cage fighting. This really is going down the road of a society like the movies “Escape From New York” or “Blade Runnder”.

    I will say though Mr. Doyle that I respectfully disagree with you on legalizing pot. I definitely would not legalize any other drug, but I do think that pot should be legalized. Based on scientific facts, pot is less dangerous to individuals and society than alochol is, and it is also less addictive. I think it is a waste of taxpayer money and police time/resources to try to stop people from smoking pot. Their time, resources, and money are much better spent in other crimes such as theft, murder, assault, rape, domestic abuse, and intoxicated drivers. Anyone that drives high is subject to the same punishment as a drunk driver would be, and cops will have more time to patrol the roads for those intoxicated drivers because they won’t have to spend so much time trying to prevent people from smoking pot. Alcoholics do far worse damage to themselves, their families, and society than potheads do. I am also against welfare and unemployment benefits, so if anyone doesn’t have a job, whether they are a pothead or not, I do NOT think that the government should financially support them. Companies also have every right to drug test their employees as often as they want and fire any potential or current employee if they test positive for pot. I do not think that we will have a noticably lazier society with pot legal, and I also don’t think that the government is responsible for preventing its citizens from being lazy. Again, I’m against welfare and unemplloyment benefits. Thank you for listening to my opinion.

    • Larry Doyle

      We can agree to disagree on this topic. All I can say is that seeing 16 year old kids stoned or all boozed up is not a pretty picture and a dangerous road for this country.

      Additionally I think there is rampant evidence indicating that those who use and abuse hard drugs often start with dope.

      The fact that discussing the legalization of marijuana is making its way into an economic blog is a very telling sign of where our country stands.

  • Matt

    I would absolutely have an age limit of 21, just like you do with alcohol right now. The unfortunate reality is that 16-year olds are going to smoke pot whether it is legal or not, and I actually think it’s harder for them to get it when it is legal along with a firm age limit than illegal and they can just buy it from anyone at school that deals it. Street dealers would be completely eliminated if it is legal. You don’t see no alcohol dealers selling alcohol to kids on the streets or at schools today because alcohol is legal with an age limit. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that it is the responsibility of parents to educate their kids on drugs and alcohol and prevent their kids lives from being adversely affected by drugs and alcohol, not the government. There is much more to this overall issue and question in the big picture of everything than just the possibility that kids will use it more than they already do anyways. I respect your opinion Mr. Doyle and thank you for allowing me to express mine and for your consideration of my viewpoint.

  • Mike

    How far will we go?

    Televised executions, either on Pay-Per-View or on late night local programming sponsored by Pepsi, Dell, MasterCard, Craftsman and Gillette. All ad and viewer revenues going directly to the State after covering costs of production.

    I am noticing that gambling is becoming much more acceptable in many states as well. Here in CT, Mohegan and Foxwoods provide close to $1B in state revenue each year. They own us!!

    I think the marijuana argument is gaining steam because of it’s great potential for tax revenues. Also, people are starting realize that it is illegal for all the wrong reasons. The fact that cigarettes and alcohol are available and openly accepted speaks volumes on this, but this is indeed an argument for another thread.

    It’s tough to tell how far we’ll go for the sake of restoring our budgets, but I do predict the envelope getting pushed in the next 10 years more so than it has in the last 100.

    • Larry Doyle

      Mike,

      I am showing my bias here but I am very much against state sponsored lotterys, casinos, and gambling. Why? I believe these activities are largely and effectively taxes on those who can least afford it. Additionally casinos are often promoted as saving cities. They certainly did not save Atlantic City.

      These activities are not without real social costs in terms of compulsive gambling problems and organized activities.

      I view them as an attempt at a quick fix but with real long term consequences.

  • Marc

    What I do (in private) that affects me, is none of your damn business Larry Doyle. Nor is it any other persons.
    As long as I’m not behind the wheel then I should be free to put pot,booze,concentrated sweets/fats, TV or religion into my system. It is not your say what I should or should not do.

    Expect a continual fight when you stick your nose into MY life.

    Don’t even give me the ” it’s bad for the children, it’s bad for society” argument.

    For one thing, I don’t have kids (and I am tired of subsidizing those who do). As for what’s good for society…. it’s people who mind their own business.

    No arguments please about how we need children to pay intro our current ponzi schemes. There’s an equally valid argument that the earth is crumbling beneath the burden of supporting it’s current (AND ever expanding) human payload.

    As for cage fighting. Nobody is forcing you to watch.
    No one is forcing you to pay for it.

    Still, let’s have it your way.
    Governor Paterson…. feel free to lay off a thousand teachers in lieu of cage fighting revenues… ’cause cage fighting offends Larry’s sensibilities.

    • Sons of Vaval

      So, are all drugs permissible as long as they are done within the privacy of one’s home?

      Where is the line drawn?

      There has to be some sort of order within society.

    • Larry Doyle

      Sons and Marc,

      You both just made my points as to why we need controls in these areas. Thanks.

      Marc,

      To think that these public activities, such as cage fighting, do not impact society as a whole is ridiculous.

      To think that legalizing drugs does not also pollute society is also ridiculous.

      America has clearly sunk to the lowest common denominator in terms of principles and now the government wants to monetize them. You can rest assured I will write aggressively railing against this sort of garbage. Feel free to read and comment all you want. In fact, I appreciate your comments.

      It’s my blog and I have every intention of sharing my point of view.

  • Always Learning

    For those who are uninformed or misinformed as to the negative health effects of marijuana use, the National Institutes of Health has a comprehensive review:

    http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/marijuana/marijuana3.html

  • JAVSnyc

    Soda companies are good corporate citizens. They employ people in various communities and give to those communities in times of need. One of the first companies to respond to the tragedy in Haiti was Coca-Cola with a donation of $1 million dollars to the Red Cross. On the ground, Coca-Cola is getting four thousands cases of water through to Haiti each day. Keep going Coke — Please keep helping!

    Governor Paterson should back off the soda. It is not the source of the obesity problem. Inferior physical and nutritional education, which of course leads to poor exercise habits and ill-advised diets, are the cause of inflated waistlines. Having a salad with a Coke is far better then a bottle of water to wash down a face full of dirty water dogs. Add walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator and you’re golden.






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