Winner Blasts New State Utility Tax

George Winner

March 02, 2010

Elmira, N.Y., July 22 –State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) said today that a new 2% utility tax enacted by Governor David Paterson and the state’s Democratic legislative leaders as part of the 2009-2010 state budget “is the latest bad news from a bad state budget for New York State taxpayers.”

Winner, who earlier this year during the budget adoption process offered a legislative amendment to reject the new tax, later joined every one of his Senate Republican colleagues to vote against the budget’s enactment.  Winner and other Republican lawmakers were particularly opposed to the new utility tax, which was part of a massive, more than $8-billion package of tax-and-fee hikes contained in the budget – the largest tax increase in state history.

“It’s the worst possible economic time to raise taxes and yet month after month, because of this year’s budget, New York State is gouging utility customers, local property taxpayers, sportsmen, college students, motorists and every other taxpayer with a new tax or a new fee,” Winner said.  “It was outrageous at the time the budget was adopted and it’s even worse now as the new taxes start hitting home for seniors, families, and businesses barely making ends meet.”

Customers of New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and utility customers statewide have been receiving notice of the higher utility tax in their July utility bills.  The new tax took effect on July 1st.  Winner said that one Senate analysis estimated that the tax will cost the average upstate New York family $40 a year, while other estimates have placed the cost at up to $200 annually.

Overall, it’s expected to raise $557 million in the current fiscal year and more than $2.2 billion over the next four years it’s scheduled to remain in effect – all of which will be deposited into the state’s general fund.

Winner stressed that he and his Senate Republican colleagues will continue to call on Paterson and legislative leaders to repeal the tax.

“We can’t keep dumping the responsibility for New York’s fiscal woes on the backs of businesses, families, senior citizens, and every other taxpayer,” Winner said.  “Governor Paterson, and Senate and Assembly Democrats still don’t understand that New York’s taxpayers can’t take any more taxes.”

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