Tuesday, April 29, 2008


These are difficult times. A few weeks ago the town received a triple AAA rating from S & P. Our bond rating went up! The New York Times had their credit rating reduced today. See the following Crains report. In fairness, the town has the ability to increase taxes, which the Times can't. However--I'm still proud of the fact that we have received the highest bond rating in town history, despite the economy.

Tough Times: S&P cuts to a notch above junk
The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, but remain just one notch above junk status, and a negative outlook means another downgrade could occur.

April 29. 2008 2:02PM
(AP) - Credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Tuesday cut its long-term rating on newspaper publisher The New York Times Co., as its advertising revenue continues to fall.

S&P cut its corporate credit rating and senior unsecured debt rating to ''BBB-'' from ''BBB.''

''BBB-'' is one notch above ''junk bond'' status. The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, but the outlook is negative, meaning another downgrade could occur.
''The rating downgrade reflects a worsening pace of decline in advertising revenue at the company's newspaper publications,'' said S&P credit analyst Emile Courtney in a statement.

Despite weakening ad revenue, The New York Times has a diversified and quickly growing online revenue base. S&P expects online revenue will begin to offset print revenue declines over the next few years.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but the NY Times didnt raise their prices 23%

hal samis said...

Dear 8:16:


Actually the New York Times raised its price 25%, from $1.00 to $1.25.

Here's how you do the calculation to determine the rate of increase.

$1.25 (new price) minus $1.00 (old price) = 25 cents (hereafter referred to as percentage)

Rate = Percentage over Base

To find rate, you divide the percentage, 25 cents by the base, $1.00 and you get 25%.

By your dumb comment, I assumed you need help.

Anonymous said...

They raised the price once (in recent memory) a little while back.

Want to bet another serious tax increase in Greenburgh next year?

hal samis said...

No, you're wrong again. Give up.

They raised the price from 75 cents to $1.00. A 33% increase.

What planet are you living on?
Costs and thus prices are going up.
In all areas. The issue is not that there are tax increases, the rate of increase, but how to control them.

This is not new news.

If you really want to understand why taxes are rising, go to one of the Comprehensive Plan Committee's so called "outreach" meetings. Here amidst the frivolity of a social event (refreshments, party games, candid photos posted on the web -- all meant to make residents feel that they are being listened to when they are not), you can witness during their 15 minutes of fame, residents add their laundry list of things that they want Greenburgh to cure.

Gee, what a surprise: residents want sidewalks, weeds wacked, less traffic, more green space, different stores, no vacant stores, no more residential development, no more development of any kind, increased garbage collection, leaves picked up, more assistance for seniors; the lists grow ad nauseam. Oh, and they want something else too: THEY DON'T WANT TAXES TO RISE.

But they wanted a larger Library.
Of course they understood that a two times larger Library would also cost more to stock and run.

So, assuming that you can still afford to buy the New York Times, maybe you should spend a little more time with it and read the business section. Surprise, gasoline and commodity prices have been rising too.

And from time to time, even with the same frequency that someone at the Comprehensive Plan meeting unearths their own, original bombshell ("we need to keep Greenburgh green") famous economists toss out this shocker:
there is no free lunch.

Greenburgh residents who are courted by the Comprehensive Plan team don't do much to lessen this confusion. Come to our meeting, free refreshments will be served.

Is it any wonder that residents get caught up in this neighborhood version of "Supermarket Sweep".

And by the way, one of reasons taxes are going up is the $400,000 price tag for this festive outing.
But, hey, free refreshments.

But most residents go away from these nights out "on the town" (really paid for by themselves) with the impression that the Comprehensive Plan is required by law and that's why it is being done now at a time when the Town least afford it.

In the spirit of honesty, perhaps Mr. Sheehan et Co. should be saying when they tell residents that there is a basis in law for having a Comprehensive Plan is only that if a municipality decides to have a Comprehensive Plan, here's what it should include. As for the unmentioned issue itself, NYS Town Law clearly states that while encouraged, a Comprehensive Plan is not a requirement.

There is a subtle distinction.

About $400,000 worth. If you go to their next meeting, remember to stuff your pocket with cookies and pastry. They're free!

And after you swallow the $400,000 ask yourself this question: where is the money coming from to pay for all these wonderful, never before heard new ideas that residents are eager to propose.

Following no free lunch is another bedrock of economic wisdom. There is no long term shelter in the idea of spending to save. It does not pay for itself.

Getting concerned? Maybe you should take an empty bag to fill with cookies when you go just in case your pockets are small. You may well be living on a cookie diet when the next tax bill arrives.

Marie Antoinette is credited with this quote about the starving masses who couldn't afford to buy bread: "let them eat cake".

Obviously pre-Revolution France should have been holding neighborhood Comprehensive Plan outreach meetings.