Monday, June 1, 2009

An Open Letter to Governor Paterson

Dear Governor -

We were reading the morning paper today and saw the article about the owner of the cigar store who sold a 31 million dollar lottery ticket. He was so happy - he hoped that the buyer was one of his regular customers because then he would get a big tip and his store would be known as a lucky store. I think my take might have been how happy I would be for someone I had known for a long time, but then it occurred to me....we are talking about greed.

Greed is a great motivator.

So here's what I propose. We've got those pesky property taxes that won't go away and are extremely high. You've tried everything, and I give you credit for that, to bring them down or offset them with other taxes. The breweries won't let you do it, the soda people want their sugary drinks, everyone feels impinged upon. So why not offer the public something for nothing? Or very little....

We have the lottery for schools, and that's been successful. Why not a lottery for ALL our taxes that we pay to the state? Think about it - one super, duper mega lottery SEASON. We could hold it here in Central New York in the summer. Two weeks of daily - hourly - drawings to pay off everything!

The big prizes would be awarded to those who are here in person to claim them. That would mean they would have to stay in hotels and eat food - here, in Central New York! They would need to be entertained - here in Central New York! Talk about DestiNY!

Why here? Because we have gorgeous lakes and that mall that will someday be built with our tax money anyway, and because if you have to be here in person to win then you have to travel from somewhere, across the state either by Thruway or Seaway or Airway or Railway. Not so easy to just pop over from New Jersey... The ticket-purchasers would have to come and SPEND MONEY! A whole industry would spring up around those two weeks.

And tickets could be bought online, too. I hope it's legal, but then, the legislature can make it legal if it's not. They pay property taxes, too. All over the world people could pay our taxes for us!

Now why would they? Because they might get lucky and make money. Someone will win - a lot of people will win. And it's that chance that will bring them here. That glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, they will win $50,000 or $100,000 or a million dollars! All for a few bucks while they're having a good time. A GREAT time! Because it's summer and the Finger Lakes and the wineries and the Nationals will be in Syracuse and the Chiefs might win and they are running at Vernon and theaters all over have summer stock productions and it's 80 degrees and lovely! Not to mention Skaneateles' sidewalk sale and the antique boat! But most importantly, they might make money, more money than they make in their jobs all year!

So, Gov, if I may call you that, I hate to say this, but what have you got to lose? You've tried everything else, Andrew Cuomo is breathing down your neck, you seem to love upstate...and frankly it's not looking too good for a second chance. So throw the dice - make us all rich and famous - and get those taxes reduced so businesses will come in and my clients (and me) won't have to pay those property taxes.

I can see it all now - "breakfast and bucks" at Stella's Diner, the noon drawing at the Fairgrounds, the 6:00 pm drawing at the Mall, 10:00 at Alliance Bank Stadium (too bad it's not downtown) and then the fireworks. And do it the next day, and the day after that - different venues, new millionaires (who must claim their prize within 4 hours - "will they make it on time?") - and so much press in the slow time of the summer months. And money, more money than you ever thought possible, all flowing into the state's coffers. And not out of the citizenry's wallets for stupid things like taxes.

And all because you took a chance - you risked it all - to make the Great State of New York a tax-free state.