I told you that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (sic) was partly created (or maneuvered) as political retribution by the GOP against those states that don’t vote their way. (Here’s but one example.) Which was the driving force behind the plot to outlaw State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions of $ 10,001 or more. Which would allow the U.S. Treasury collect some $ 650 billion more over the 8 years that this restriction is in effect. (The personal tax rate changes under this Act expire in 2026.)
I’m sure you’ve heard that a near miracle has occurred. No, not the miracle of Chanuka that let the menora stay lit for eight days. I’m talking about the transportation bill that finally passed both houses of Congress- and actually funds the program for more than a few weeks. Yes, indeed, we have a FIVE year transportation bill.
Good news!!!!!! (I love reporting good news!)
If you live in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York (certain locations), or Indiana- or you have business entities that operate in those states- you are about to save a chunk of change. You see these states impose surcharges on their residents that are officially taxes for the county or city of residence. (I remember the first time a client yelled at me saying their Maryland taxes were only $ 5000, why did they have to send in $ 7000? It’s because their county had an additional surtax, one that was paid to the state.)
It’s been an interesting year. We had folks in Charleston, West Virginia banned from using water for several days. (I wrote about this as a terrorist act, because a company managed to have its toxic chemicals leak into the drinking water source. (You would think this would make folks in West Virginia demand their government do a better job of regulating chemical storage. But, they haven’t. Proof that it takes all kinds.) Or, folks in the Carolinas and even Virginia have Duke Energy pollute their waters with toxic sludge. By pumping the coal ash into the Dan River. (Again, no citizen outcry.)
My Thanksgiving Day gave me the chance to observe and share some valuable management lessons- with you my readers, my staff, my (ex) clients, and some folks who probably should have been my clients. I did something I have not done in a long time on Thanksgiving. I drove to New York. Normally, that’s an escapade- but on Thanksgiving holiday, it’s torture. But, I used the 6P method- Prior Planning Prevents P…-Poor Performance. I studied my routes, knew where to park my car, and did so. Leaving early Thursday morning let me arrive without finding parking lots where highways existed the day before. (Leaving late on Thursday night for the return yielded the same results). One down… I parked in New Jersey and took the (almost-back-up) PATH to get to Manhattan. This way I avoided the choke-holds known as the Port Authority Tunnels and Bridges. And, the the traffic associated with the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Score 2 for great mental attitudes to prevail that day. One of the primary reasons I was in New York was to dine with my son. He was there because the University of Michigan Basketball team was competing in the NIT Invitational (which they won, by the way). His duties as manager required him to be busy until around 4:30 PM. Which meant a few (ok, more than a few) hours to kill. So, I got to walk around downtown Manhattan, part of my old stomping grounds. I got to see my favorite building- the Chrysler Building, took a nice picture, and shared it with my son. And, to kill more time, I went to one of the places I spent many an evening. The Grand Hyatt in New York, next door to the remaining wonderful rail station in New York. (Grand Central remains; the Pennsylvania Station was torn down to build the new (now old) Madison Square Garden- which is hwere my son’s team was playing basketball.) And, near to some old client headquarters- and the “Daily Planet” (which is really the WPIX headquarters, which used to include the franchise of the New York Daily News). I went to the second floor bar. Proceeded to order a glass of wine. When the bartender wanted my credit card (immediately upon ordering), i joked and said, “I need it back. I have a big dinner planned for tonight”. And, I struck up a conversation with nice gent from South Wales. On his first visit to the Big Apple, I proceeded to discuss various places to see and ways to get around New York with him. After some 15 minutes of light banter, I asked for the check and my credit card. The bartender dropped off the check- but no credit card. When I demanded the card, he said he had already returned it. As I palmed each pocket and examined my wallet, I told him to give me my card- no more jokes. The gent from South Wales also recognized that no credit card was returned. The bartender feigned looking for my card (he opened both registers, but never returned to talk with me). It’s not like he was busy- there were only two other guests besides the gent from Wales. As I was calling my credit card company to report the theft, a “manager” appeared and tried to inform me that I was making dire accusations. (You think?) She did promise to “examine the security tapes” and get back to me. But, it was 4:45 and I had 15 minutes to reach the restaurant and greet my guests, so I left- angrily. To my surprise, not only did my brother arrive on time for the dinner, but he brought his two sons! So, we needed to imposed upon the restaurant (Shalom Bombay, 40th and Lexington) to accommodate our now larger party. Which they graciously did. The service was excellent, the food sublime, and the presence of my son, brother, nephews, my girlfriend and her son were the icing on the (non-existent) cake. At 9 PM, I called the Hyatt bar thrice and left messages. Of course, no one answered (I did say I LEFT a message) and no one returned the call. So, now the lessons. Planning for any meeting is critical. And, the goal is to insure that everyone’s mental attitude is never diminished. Hence, the early and late departures to and from the Big Apple. The Grand Hyatt? Well, the “manager”, the “bartender”- they need to find new occupations. I would say it exemplified the place (which would be the obvious conclusion for one who was never there before), but I knew and expected better. I called on Friday to speak to the hotel manager- who did not answer or return the call. (It turns out he may have been off.) But, I sent a missive to the CEO of Hyatt and to the hotel manager, when I was left without reply at 1:30 PM. But, a Hyatt manager did call. Who did recognize the horrendous error. (I may have been visiting New York with only one credit card- and they left me with no means to pay for my grand dinner plans.) Who worked diligently to try to make it right (not quite possible, since I was already gone and had left without my card). But, I credit him with trying to fix a situation, to try to create a better second impression. Which is the third lesson. Yes, we can’t make a bad first impression good. But, we can rectify the situation. And, we need to insure that our staff know our mission and vision- and insure that every stakeholder gets that mission and vision clearly- from the employee to the manager to the customer or client. For these lessons, I am thankful. May they help you insure that your company provides the impressions it desires to its stakeholders.