Statement From Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos On Federal Stimulus Agreement

Dean G. Skelos

February 12, 2009


Now that Congress has reached agreement on a federal stimulus package, I will once again urge Governor Paterson to resubmit his budget without the $6 billion plus in new and higher taxes and fees he proposed.

This week, Assembly Speaker Silver made an even bigger push to increase personal income taxes. He was followed by Senate Democrats, 18 of whom have signed on to a bill that would expand the income tax hike to millions more New Yorkers.

Senator Malcolm Smith says he opposes increasing the personal income tax, but says he will follow the dictates of his conference, more than half of whom support the tax hike.

Today it’s expected that New York City Council President Christine Quinn will call for a $1 billion increase in the City’s personal income tax, including raising rates as much as 26 percent.

Even Governor Paterson has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on the issue by supporting tax hikes, then calling them regressive. One minute he says that he would veto a personal income tax increase if it is used to "re-create spending." Then he backs away from that pledge a moment later, saying "I didn’t say that I would veto an income tax hike for all time."

Senate Republicans are going to hold Governor Paterson to his pledge to veto an increase in the personal income tax.

Democrats throughout the state appear unified in the belief that New Yorkers are not paying enough taxes and must pay more. I have yet to speak to a single New Yorker who believes he or she should be paying more in taxes.

Democrats simply do not know when to stop increasing taxes. With the billions of dollars New York stands to receive from the federal stimulus package, that time is now.

The federal stimulus package monies should be used to: eliminate the Governor’s tax hikes; address some of the budget shortfalls in health care, combined with structural reforms to reduce state spending; ensure fair state aid for our schools; and invest in infrastructure improvements and economic development initiatives to create new jobs.