QUIT SMOKING NOW! … Macy’s Fireworks

It is time to quit!

About the only good thing the Legislature in Albany has done this year is boosting the state’s tax on cigarettes by an additional $1.60 – to a national high of $4.35 a pack. Factoring in city and federal levies, a single pack is taxed to the tune of $6.85, which translates to a counter price of $12 – $13 for city smokers.

The new tobacco levy will also drive up the tax charged on cigars and chewing tobacco to 75 percent of its wholesale price – a 29 percent jump.

The new tobacco taxes will raise an estimated $290 million to help plug the state’s $9.2 billion deficit, according to Governor David Paterson’s budget office.

It is time to quit – for your health, for your family, for your co-workers. Tobacco breath stinks! Smoking causes cancer, as does second hand smoke. It is time to quit.

Even if the family and health issues don’t finally do it for you, just do the math.

At $13 a pack, a pack-a-day habit is costing you $4,745 a year. Add $2,373.50 for that extra ½ pack habit for a total of over $7,000.

It is time to quit! Call 3-1-1 and get started today.

You could give yourself the largest raise of your lifetime! You could, in fact, be giving yourself the rest of your life.

We wuz robbed

This year’s Macy’s fireworks show along the Hudson River featured six barges filled with more than 40,000 shells that exploded at a rate of 1,500 per minute, reaching up to 10,000 feet in the air.

Millions of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan Eastside residents were shut off from the spectacular show for a second year in a row. Thousands of business owners in those areas felt the loss of revenue from crowds of watchers that used to throng to the banks of the East River and New York Harbor.

Macy’s media relations manager, Orlando Veras, called the show "A gift to the nation." Robin Hall, the executive producer for the show, and Veras should think about the pain they caused in the cash registers and hearts of the businesses and New Yorkers just to have the canvas of the Hudson River and the eyes of New Jersey.

Why not split the barges — three in the Hudson River and three in the East River? Or two in each river and two in the harbor – so all New Yorkers and businesses everywhere can enjoy the show?

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