A Big Fat “Rush” to Leave New York

Sure, the tax hikes are rough, but there's an upside

What's the silver lining to the state's current fiscal crisis? Professional agitator Rush Limbaugh is threatening to sell his condo and move his show's back-up operations to Texas if New York's proposed budget is passed.

"I'm going to look for an alternative studio somewhere outside New York, perhaps Texas -- another no-income-tax state -- and I'm going to get the hell over there, when a hurricane starts coming our way," huffed Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio show yesterday. "I'll sell my apartment. I'll sell my condominium. I'm going to get out of there totally, 'cause this is just absurd, and it's ridiculous -- and it isn't going to work."

This news will only be met with sorrow among prescription drug peddlers and divorce lawyers.

But surely someone here in Gotham will miss him. Say, the folks at the New York studio that is home to his show roughly 15 times a year?

"(B)asically I go to New York now for hurricane relief, whenever a hurricane hits," said Limbaugh, who calls Palm Beach County home. "No other reason to go there. Well, sometimes I visit the overrated staff, but it would be cheaper to fly the staff down here to visit me than to pay these stupid tax increases!"

OK, so maybe the staff won't be too brokenhearted. Limbaugh isn't completely tone deaf, though, he knows the contempt he feels for New York is requited in spades.

"New York is probably going to celebrate that I'm not going to come back ... They hate me, so they're happy I'm not coming back. They're going to praise Paterson for driving me out, even though I am rarely there anyway."

So his departure from New York is some great political statement, but if it makes New Yorkers happy they're fools because Rush is "rarely there anyway." Which is it?

Having made clear that he is the winner of this great non-issue, Rush got back to the business of pounding Gov. Paterson for the tax-laden budget proposal.

"This is what liberals do. They spend everybody into oblivion," howled Limbaugh. "They blame the rich for not paying enough, and they raise taxes on them. And they decrease the activity that generates the tax revenue. There are going to be others that are going to get out of there, especially in this economy. "

While New York is taxing the life out its citizens, Rush's beloved Florida levies no state income tax. How do they keep afloat? On the backs of New Yorkers, naturally. In 2004, New York received 79 cents from Washington for every dollar of federal taxes it paid. Florida, on the other hand, received $1.02 for every dollar it paid. Maybe it's not that Rush hates paying taxes, rather he loves spending other people's tax dollars.

What's ironic is that Rush made his bones here, launching his national show from New York City in 1988, but he felt unloved by the big, bad city.

“I assumed there was a fraternity of broadcasting guys in New York,” he told The New York Times last year. “I thought my success would launch me into a circle of accomplished … Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather … I thought they would welcome me as one of them. I was wrong … my professional achievements were discounted because of my conservatism and my constant criticism of those who I thought would welcome me.”

Like the garden variety New York liberal living in an ideological echo chamber, when Rush emerged from his own bubble in Kansas City, he experienced the same jolt.

“I was shocked by the visceral hatred. Nobody hated me growing up. Nobody hated me in Kansas City. Even in Sacramento, which is a liberal town, nobody hated me. That didn’t happen until I got to Manhattan.”

It goes with out saying, Sacramento is not New York.

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