MARCH 17, 2009: State Senator John Bonacic (R/I/C – Mt. Hope), today said it was apparent an income tax hike was being secretly negotiated and would be pushed through by Governor Paterson and Legislative leaders as part of the State budget. Senator Bonacic said that proceeds from such income tax hike should be directed specifically at property tax relief for middle class families and those struggling to become part of the middle class.
“Another tax hike whose revenue just goes to fund the State’s ongoing expenses does a disservice to those who are serious about property tax reform. You only get one shot at using revenue from a millionaire’s tax. That revenue should be used for property tax reduction, otherwise it will just be squandered away with billions of other dollars,” Senator Bonacic said.
For three years in a row the Senate has passed legislation to phase out school property taxes. The total cost of that proposal was estimated to be around $10 - $12 billion over five years. With the income tax hike about to be adopted, an end to the school property tax is possible. “Taxing for the sake of taxing will not solve New York’s economic woes. New York’s tax policy must help the middle class, not just simply take more from the wealthy,” Senator Bonacic said.
Democrats who control the State Legislative process and Governor’s office, although refusing to detail the negotiations publicly, are privately contemplating massive income tax hikes. Some members of the Legislature are seeking to hike income taxes on families earning $250,000 or more – but are offering no commitment to reducing property taxes for middle income families.
Senator Bonacic’s position is that if an income tax hike occurs, then the revenue generated by that income tax must go to permanent property tax reduction. “Pitting the ability to afford a home against the quality of education one’s child receives is just wrong. We should not pay for the service we value the most – our children’s education, with the tax we hate the most – the property tax.”
This year, for the first time in more than forty years, the State Legislature is entirely controlled by one political party – in this case Democrats. The Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly have, to date, foregone public deliberations on the State budget and have been secretly meeting with Governor David Paterson to craft a State budget.
“An income tax hike that does not substantially reduce property taxes does nothing but drive more New Yorkers out of this State. We need to make New York affordable for everyday people. The best way we can do that is property tax reform, not more spending band-aids which merely exacerbate the problem,” Senator Bonacic emphasized.