Democrats Pass Largest Tax Increase in State History; Ranzenhofer Leads the Fight to Restore STAR Rebate Checks


Albany, NY - With millions of Western New Yorkers working harder than ever to balance their own family budgets—and with businesses struggling to cope with an historic economic downturn, the Democrats have passed a State Budget that includes massive increases in spending and the largest tax increase in state history. The whopping $132 Billion dollar plan increases spending by $10.5 billion or roughly 10% and includes $8 billion dollars in new taxes and fees.

"With economic conditions worsening by the day and no region of the State immune to the pain of economic challenges not seen since the Great Depression, we made the tough choices these difficult times demand," said Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith. Apparently Senator Smith believes that it is a "tough choice" to spend record amounts of money, which is more than seven times the rate of inflation and pass the bill on to the taxpayer at a time when everyone agrees that the economy is in crisis. Only a long-time Albany politician could look at this budget and think that any "tough" choice was made. For three New York City democrats, growing government, spending your money and making you pay the bill is just business as usual.

"This is the worst possible budget, at the worst possible time passed using the worst budget process in our history." Senator Ranzenhofer said "This budget was negotiated in secret, packed with wasteful spending and toxic tax increases and it will lead to the loss of more jobs in Western New York. It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility."

Governor Paterson speaking at a press conference on March 30th in an effort to defend this bloated budget said "Does it (the budget) make sense. The answer is no, none of this makes sense" For once I agree with the Governor, it never makes sense in the midst of a tough economy to raise taxes on hard working citizens and small businesses. You can’t tax your way out of a recession and history proves it.

The triumvirate of New York City Democrat leaders, Speaker Silver, Governor Paterson and Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith also saw fit to eliminate $1.45 billion in middle class STAR rebate checks, in effect picking the pocket of hardworking, middle class homeowners in Western New York. Senator Ranzenhofer, lead the fight to try to restore this vital tax relief to families and castigated his Democrat colleagues from Western New York "The elimination of this vital program will in effect impose an additional tax of $369 per family in Erie County and $525 in Genesee County for 2009. My amendment would have restored a STAR rebate check to each and every homeowner. The fact that Senators Thompson and Stachowski choose not to stand with me in defense of those families shows how out of touch they are with their constituents."

Included also in this mammoth tax and spend plan is a 500% increase in the tax on utility bills, and a $300 tax per employee on health insurance policies. These taxes will disproportionately hit small businesses and will surely cause more layoffs. "There are 1.6 million small businesses in New York State and they account for 57% of all jobs. These tax increases will stifle economic growth and discourage any more employers from opening their doors in our area. This is a monumental step backward for job growth and economic development." Ranznehofer said.

If you combine all of the increases in taxes and fees that this budget imposes and all of the additional spending programs what you find is a budget that taxes more, spends more and will lead to the elimination of more jobs." The new majority was elected last year on a platform of change and reform. The truth is nothing has changed, except the faces, and unfortunately the same bad policies and dysfunction remain." Ranzenhofer said.