A taxing situation

When we live in Syracuse and most cities there’s a hidden assessment, a charge and some might go as far as calling it a tax on goods and service delivery in the inner city.

From signage on faded store walls to gray colored chocolate candy bars at the corner convenience store. This is a pay-as-you-go system. There’s no governmental entity of assessment and there is no tax grievance procedure.

In a recent conversation, a friend recalled how long it took him to get something at his local corner store. It was a large chain; however, the level of service and the wait in line dwarfed anything he’d seen in their other “less urban” locations.

“I was being taxed for where I live” he exclaimed. He went on to rant on why he goes to stores like Wegman’s.

“They are in a hurry to get your money give you your stuff with a smile, between Lotto and forties going to an inner city convenience store is tortuous,” he said.

When you add to the equation inadequate housing, inferior education and diminished job prospects there’s a tax on the senses even if you are “of income” you can’t escape the Ghetto Tax.

At almost 50 years old I’ve never seen so many sad and angry children. With sunken eyes and sullen smiles, hope for some is confined to a small corner of a given side of town. The inner city tax effects vision making the world a small and unforgiving place.

Try paying a cable bill in person on Erie Boulevard downtown with 10 parking spaces. It’s not uncommon to see 30 people in a long line with cable customer service representatives worked like rented mules while their suburban counterparts enjoy an atmosphere of customers walking through a state-of-the-art lobby display of suburban digital opulence.

If you stage an event at Clinton Square, Coca-Cola has the pouring rights. Any non-alcoholic beverage at any event has to be a Coca-Cola product.

So, you wanna have Aunt Mary’s lemonade at the event? Sorry, you’ve gotta use Minute Maid or another Coke product don’t worry about limitations Coke makes over 80 varieties of water based refreshment. And even better Coke’s willing to sell these drinks to you for a price at Clinton Square.

What about placing a giant sponsorship sign on the skating tent and the middle of the ice skating rink? Or bottling our water and selling it on the open market? There are a lot of ideas that fall short of taxing our selves into oblivion.

With the latest tax on beer at events to pay for some of the upkeep of the facility, I wonder out loud what’s left to tax? With over 80 mandated products to choose from the only thing left to place a levy on is the water that’s leaving our bodies.

Ken Jackson is editor of Urban CNY