What’s That Smell?

Remember the old Rodney Dangerfield joke? “My wife said ‘kiss me where it stinks’ — so I took her to Jersey!”

Taking the counter-point, I thought New Jersey got a bad rap (I live in N.J. now) and needed a new tag line. One to be used for tourism and economic development. Thought “what’s that smell?” had legs — use it for The Shore and restaurants, and so many other attractions you could attach a scent to. Kind of grows on you, doesn’t it? Pokes fun at all the refineries along the Turnpike. So what? Since when did “Jersey Girl” become a positive?

Look, there’s now a town in Iowa that smells like garlic. The local spice producer donated garlic salt for use on icy streets, so they mixed it is with the standard rock salt:

City crews in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny are using garlic salt to melt snow and ice on streets from Tuesday’s storm.

The salt was donated by Tone Brothers Inc., a top spice producer headquartered in Ankeny.

Public Works Administrator Al Olson says the company donated 18,000 pounds of garlic salt to use on its 400 miles of roads.

Olson doesn’t have details, but he says the salt would have ended up in the landfill, so the company donated it. A telephone call Wednesday to Tone Brothers wasn’t immediately returned.

Olson says the city mixed the garlic salt with regular road salt and it works fine. He says some road workers say it makes them hungry, but Olson doesn’t recommend it to spice up lunch or dinner.

“New Jersey: What’s That Smell?” — gotta nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Bye-Bye Bonus

Good move: Goldman Sachs executives are forgoing their annual bonuses. First time in the firm’s 139-year history, but it’s the right thing to do.

New York State will take the tax hit:

The executives complied with the urging of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and others who said in November that major Wall Street companies benefiting from federal bailouts shouldn’t pay out the usual huge bonuses to executives.

Paterson says it was the right thing to do, but the result is a further hit to the fiscal crisis of state government.

“Things could go even more south in a big hurry,” Paterson told reporters.

Losing tax revenue from bonuses was a big hit to New York’s finances because Wall Street taxes accounted for 30 percent of state revenue in the last fiscal quarter.

“I think it was the right urge,” he said, but “the state lost $178 million in that moment.”

The decision by Goldman Sachs’ top executives to forgo bonuses in 2008 forced other investment bank bosses to follow suit. Thousands of lower-tier brokers will still collect their hefty bonuses, however, because their employers don’t want to lose their top talent.

Certainly a more positive move than flying, then driving (sort of), from Detroit to Washington earlier this month for the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Ford Motor Company, in turning down the government bailout offer, scored big in terms of public opinion.