Sunday, March 6, 2011

Crash Tax?

Everybody knows the crash tax is the dinner treat, heavy furniture moving, or at least a few interesting travel stories that your friends have come to expect when you visit their expensive and dangerous city and are crashing at their place.
Crashing is an important cog in the machinery of evolution and the migrations of all the great civilizations. Without crashing, ideas or the seeds of ideas may never leave their tiny native villages. Strangers may never collide, argue or fall in love. I, and probably millions of others, never would have made it to New York if we didn’t have that friend’s, relative’s or classmate’s place to land safely. So why, we have to ask, has our Mayor come to propose a new tax on crashing?
Relax. It’s not some kind of 60s backlash thing at all. Turns out, the Mayor is proposing a new tax, to begin this July 1, on anyone who has a traffic accident (apparently also a “crash”) and requires emergency services. The tax will be levied by the Fire Department, the latest in a long line of municipal tax collectors. Now the heroics of those brave men will not only command our respect and admiration, but will also instill anger, fear and resentment as their bills past due, generally not covered by insurance, will arrive in the mail at rates from $365 if there is no fire or injury to $490 if there is a fire and injury to somewhere in between.
Some people are calling it “double taxation” because those services are already paid for by longstanding taxes. Others are just concerned that someone will hesitate to call emergency services when they are needed because of the expense. A few are worried that larger-than-life car chases will now have a tinge of regret. A few more can’t help but notice that our Mayor is going after NYC drivers again. And still others are worried that fearful bystanders who don’t really want to get involved could call 911 leaving you with the bill. But we are just relieved that couches and floors everywhere in this great city will still be tax free and friends’ doors will still be open without fear of taxpayer funded rescue or social taxation. For now.

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