The Governor Needs to Fix His Outdated Budget Proposal

Dean G. Skelos

February 11, 2009

Federal Stimulus Aid Provides Opportunity to Create Jobs & Eliminate Tax and Fee Hikes

In light of funds New York is projected to receive from the federal stimulus package, I am calling on Governor Paterson to reconfigure and resubmit his 2009-10 Executive Budget.

The Governor submitted his proposed budget long before there was a federal stimulus package. The billions of dollars in new federal aid gives the Governor the opportunity to reshape a budget that would have a devastating impact on taxpayers throughout the state.

My colleagues and I in the Senate Republican Conference recently sent a letter to members of the New York Congressional delegation yesterday, urging them to advocate for New York’s share of stimulus aid and to focus assistance on economic development, infrastructure investments and tax relief for families and businesses.

The federal funds could be used to right many wrongs in the Governor’s budget. First and foremost, he could eliminate the almost $7 billion in tax and fee hikes he proposed that would come down especially hard on the middle class families Upstate and in the suburbs.

Virtually every aspect of a family’s budget would see increases under the Governor’s budget. For an average family of four, the impact the Governor’s tax and fee increases would reach more than $3,300 a year. That would not only exhaust any monthly savings for emergencies, but force families to reduce spending to pay to additional taxes and fees.

There are close to 140 individual tax and fee increases, including the elimination of $2 billion in property tax rebate checks; reimposing sales taxes and clothing and shoe purchases, as well as higher costs for music downloads, beer, water, wine, soda, health insurance, SUNY college tuition, car registrations, school supplies, school lunches, after school care, music lessons and instrument rentals, gym memberships, fishing licenses, haircuts, and more.

Under the Governor’s proposed budget, everything a family does in its day to day life will be taxed and every time they turn around. State government will reach into their pockets and take away another dime, another dollar, another hundred dollars. We must use the federal stimulus money to get government off our backs and out of our wallets.

Governor Paterson stood with Senator Charles Schumer and said that in light of the federal stimulus aid, his preference would be to “cancel out” his proposed tax increases. He should keep true to his word, cancel his tax and fees increases, and resubmit a budget that was proposed long before the federal stimulus package.

Tax relief, economic development and job creation must go hand in hand to turn our economy around. Governor Paterson should use stimulus aid to propose an economic development to create and retain jobs. While other states are planning new efforts to help businesses create jobs, Governor Paterson’s budget includes no plan to boost New York’s economy.

I have proposed a job creation plan that would, among other things, redirect current, unused economic development funds to cut taxes on small businesses and eliminate business taxes for small manufacturers. The plan would also direct funds to provide relief to property taxpayers.

Rather than base budget negotiations on an outdated, disastrous plan that would nickel and dime taxpayers to death, the Governor should fix the problems with his budget, resubmit it to the Legislature and move forward with a new plan that makes the best use of federal stimulus aid to meet the needs of all New Yorkers.