The legislature should look at this more like a stimulus package than a monumental change in the property tax burden in the city.
Small stimuli to local economies can be quite effective. Those temporary breaks on sales taxes in the Giuliani years were a big help to the local economy. Five-hundred dollars is not going to send a family to Hawaii on vacation, but it is an act of good faith to the people who stayed in New York when the markets crashed and Hurricane Sandy caused so much destruction.
It is a way to give some help, albeit not life-changing, to people who put a lot into being New Yorkers.
Ulrich was right to sign on to this legislation, since his district has been hit so hard over the last few years. It is always a challenge to get politicians in City Hall to recognize the needs of people in lower Queens, and especially the Rockaway area.
Time to Legalize MMA
The State Senate Committee for Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation recently gave the nod to a bill that would legalize mixed martial arts (MMA) in New York State.
This does not make it legal, but it puts this legislation on the journey through the State Senate to where it may very likely get voted on. If the Senate votes to legalize the sport, it will eventually land on the governor’s desk for his signature.
Here is the problem for MMA supporters: there are still a lot of people who do not understand what the sport is. This is unfortunate because MMA fighting is now highly regulated and more legitimate than it was in its early stages.
New York was right to be skeptical about the sport in the mid-1990s. It had such a brutal reputation as simply a no-holds-barred cage of violence. Most MMA fighters leave the ring bruised, but they’re often not carried out.
Once other states saw the sport, with the rules that are strictly enforced (no fish-hooking or eye gauging), they realized that it is not that far from boxing, which is legal everywhere.
The strike against MMA is less about the ugly violence than it is about how occasionally boring it can be. Once two fighters lock into a hold, there is a good chance you can be stuck watching two 30-year-old men in a five-minute hug.
There is not always a great deal of movement in MMA, especially if the fighters are good. It is time for New York to legalize the sport. It is now widely accepted, regulated, and it does introduce different fighting styles, many of which are ancient and historical.
New York was always the center of boxing, having hosted all those great fights at Madison Square Garden. A state and city with such a relationship with professional sports should not be the only one that does not acknowledge MMA.
Many critics adamantly opposed what seemed like nothing more than a violent spectacle in the 1990s. The sport has changed, and the law needs to change as well.