State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx, 33rd district), Senate Vice President for Urban Policy and Planning, announced today that he is throwing his support behind the bill proposed by Sen. Eric Schneiderman that would create a so-called millionaire’s tax.
"We are mired in a fiscal crisis of epic proportion. After carefully deliberating over all of the options, I strongly believe that Sen. Schneiderman’s proposed legislation, coupled with the Federal stimulus package, offers the best opportunity to raise revenue for the State without hurting the poor and middle class and working families," said Espada, who also serves as chairman of the housing committee.
"The Schneiderman bill would help avoid raising tuition at City and State universities. It would eliminate the need to cut deeply into education and health care. It would avoid the implementation of nuisance taxes and fees and other budget actions that would disproportionately impact working class families," Espada added.
He said the Schneiderman bill would not completely eliminate the budget ax from swinging. "Make no mistake, we are still going to have to sharpen our pencils and make some cuts to the State budget. However, the additional $6 billion in personal income tax revenue that the Schneiderman bill would generate, combined with the portion of President Obama’s economic stimulus package earmarked for New York, will bring the pain in the State budget to tolerable levels. We’ll still have to deal with $2-3 billion in State budget cuts, but that’s a far cry from the $14-15 billion that are looming," Espada said.
In addition, Espada said the legislature needs to find a way to keep the Star property tax rebate program in the State budget. "We need to keep this important property tax relief in the budget for homeowners," he said.
Espada also announced that he would not support tolls on East and Harlem River bridges. "This would create an economic hardship for working class people in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. These people fuel the economic engine of our City and State. They are already the hardest hit by this economic crisis. The last thing we need to do is hit them with this unfair charge," he said.