The Master Hand

The Role of Government in Building Cities

[Excerpt From Chapter Six]

In 1817, the governor of New York convinced the state legislature to spend $7 million to finance a canal from Albany to Buffalo. Eight years later, after thousands of workers had carved a channel through rock and earth, the Erie Canal was complete. The 350-mile canal opened the entire upper Midwest to shipping, and cemented New York City’s role as transportation hub for the nation, and as the country’s greatest city.

The Stock Transfer Tax: An Idea Whose Time Has Come Back?

By Alex Marshall

May 2003

It sounds too good to be true. At a time when New York City and state are billions of dollars in the red, they could raise that and possibly more by reinstating a tax that is mostly paid by people living outside the state and country.

It’s called the Stock Transfer Tax. Until 1981, the state had one, and the city got the revenue.

Until it was phased out, it was raising $300 million a year for the city. Technically, it is still in place, only the proceeds are instantly rebated to the buyer of a stock. Now some people, including an Albany legislator, are considering bringing it back in a new form.