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Telling a true tale of two cities

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Plenty of businesses are thriving in Troy, but when Don Russell closed his restaurant The Irish Mist last summer, he blamed what he termed the city's "high taxes" and poor economic development policies -- rather than considering, oh, I don't know, perhaps his own business model?

Unfortunately, many local bloggers have since been parroting Russell's excuses without context. Here's some:

The reality is that Troy does have an extremely business-friendly attitude and does not have particularly high property taxes. What it has, as mandated by the state, is a reassessment of property taxes. The idea was to balance the burden. Some properties that had been getting away with lower payments -- such as The Irish Mist -- were brought up to reality and told to finally pay their fair share.

In other words, Russell suddenly was faced with the fact he had to pull his own weight instead of riding on the checkbooks of others who had been overassessed for years. And all this came about in the midst of years-long knowledge that this might occur.

Now, Russell has decamped for the west bank of the Hudson River where he plans to create a wine and tapas bar in Cohoes. He told the Times Union today he will be using a building at 231 Remsen Street. He lives in an upstairs apartment there and is working on renovations with a June target for opening. The business will be called Spindles on Remsen, a nod to Cohoes' nickname, the Spindle City.

Russell also continues with his rant against Troy, being quoted by the TU's Steve Barnes as recently as today as saying, “The taxes in Troy … and the general attitude toward business did me in.”

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