Written by Jack Martins Thursday, 08 May 2014 09:39
I somehow blew up my brother-in-law’s power washer last week. I don’t know how, but you know the feeling. You try never to borrow anything but when you finally do, not 20 minutes in, the otherwise indestructible machinery that’s been well-used for 15 years suddenly and inexplicably starts sputtering and belching smoke like a wounded Godzilla.
It’s a shame too. I was trucking right along, smoothly blasting away muck and grime when I suddenly heard a bolt blow clean off the side of the machine. So my meticulously planned three-hour task turned into a full-day excursion as I headed to the Home Depot to educate myself on the wide world of power washers and where I bought new ones for both my brother-in-law and myself. Lesson one: better not to borrow anything expensive, for Murphy’s Law will surely intervene.
But that old adage aside, my column is actually about the process. If you’ve ever used a power washer you know how strangely satisfying the experience can be. To be sure, it’s slow and tedious work that requires careful attention so as not to let the water’s force damage what you’re cleaning. But as you progress inch by monotonous inch, you’re rewarded with a renewed surface gleaming back at you.
In reality, this is precisely how so many of life’s challenges have to be managed. I think power washing might be the perfect chore by which to teach our teenagers the value of slow and sustained effort. It’s also what came to mind this past week as I spoke at the WOR Business Breakfast at Jericho Terrace. As the newly appointed Chairman of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, I was invited by WOR and CNBC contributor Ron Insana to speak with more than 100 local business owners about the business environment and what’s being done to help it flourish.
The session immediately took off because our hard-nosed, passionate business owners have no problems telling you what needs improvement. But that’s the kind of honest discussion that has been lacking in New York’s business policy-making for far too long. In the past, officials took businesses for granted and let New York City special interests dictate the discussion.
I think we all agreed though, that we’re finally turning that corner. In just the past four years we’ve delivered on-time, balanced budgets with no business or personal tax increases. We cut personal income taxes to their lowest level in over 50 years, kept state spending to less than two percent growth and even established a real property tax cap. In essence, we’ve maintained state finances much as a successful business would maintain its own.
But we also agreed that we have to strike while the iron is hot and incentivize existing businesses to stay, while convincing new ones to open in New York. That simply can’t be done until we tackle New York’s notoriously excessive regulations. I’ve already reviewed thousands of pages of what appear to be ambiguous and often duplicative regulations, but untangling this mess, with an eye toward simplification is very appealing to me. Much like the power washer, it’s slow and steady work, taken inch by painstaking inch. The reward will be a much improved and attractive business environment that’s better for all working people.
Yet, I know I’ll need help. I’ll be hosting a series of Senate hearings where business people can share their insights and expertise. Just like this week’s WOR breakfast, the more frank the discussions, the better. In the meantime, I urge any small business or would be start-ups to reach out to the Long Island Business Council (516-396-0600) and the Nassau IDA (516-571-1945). They have a wealth of resources that many people just aren’t aware of, as well as invaluable advice, garnered from years of collective experience. These are business people just like you, and they’re dedicated to helping in whatever way they can.
So break out your power washers (be sure they’re not borrowed) and together, let’s get to work.
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
It’s hard to imagine that it’s Thanksgiving already. Is it me, or did we just celebrate? Halloween wasn’t even upon us and the stores were stocked with Thanksgiving and Christmas items. We say to ourselves, “each year, it comes earlier and earlier.” While some prepare to cook and figure out where to seat relatives to avoid arguments, others plan to dine out. To many of us, Thanksgiving means shopping on Black Friday. But for the few and far between who look forward to catching the latest film from the array released exclusively for the holiday weekend, the time has come to relish relaxation. Sit back and enjoy the weekend at the movies, while the deliciousness of turkey and stuffing is probably still digesting in your tummy.
The following movies opened on Nov. 26:
The Penguins of Madagascar (PG–92 mins)
The Penguins of Madagascar finally have their own movie. If you’re familiar with the previous Madagascar films, featuring the zoo animals and their adventures, then you already know the funny and lovable spy penguins. Packed with animated fun for the whole family, Skipper, Kowalksi, Rico and Private begin a journey as undercover agents to help stop the notorious villain, Dr. Octavious. New and returning voices include Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, Christopher Knight, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and many more.
Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00
If you have a sweet tooth and want a taste of confectionary perfection, take a drive down Manetto Hill Road. Set far back in a shopping center you will find Sweet Karma Bakery. No matter where you park in the lot, your nose will be greeted by the scent of freshly baked cakes and cookies.
Owner and pastry chef Brian Fishman graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 1991. He was a savory chef for eight years before he chose pastries over pâtés.