Aubertine: Elimination of ‘Nickel and Dime’ Taxes from Budget is a Victory for Rural New Yorkers

Darrel J. Aubertine

March 10, 2009

Senator Applauds the Governor, Leadership for listening to concerns of Upstate New York

ALBANY (March 11, 2009)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine today applauded Gov. David Paterson and leadership in the Senate and Assembly for listening to him and Upstate New Yorkers by eliminating $1.3 billion in taxes and fees from ongoing budget discussions.

“We can ease the minds of our constituents and assure them that these ‘peanut taxes’ that would have adversely targeted the poor and the middle class are in fact not going to be part of any plan to balance our 2009-10 budget,” said Sen. Aubertine, chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. “This is very good news for all of New York, especially rural New York. These were not broad based proposals and they unfairly targeted the working people hit hardest by the economic downturn.”

The announcement today eliminated proposals to:
• Restructure the sales tax exemption on clothing
• Impose a new sales tax on non-diet soft drinks,
• Extend sales tax to cable and satellite television and radio,
• Limit the capital improvement exemption in the state’s tax code,
• Tax personal and credit services such as haircuts and gym memberships,
• Tax entertainment related spending, such as bowling fees, movie tickets,
• Create a digital property sales tax for Internet downloads,
• Charge people tax on the value of coupons.

“My office has received hundreds of emails, postcards and letters from bowlers, working New Yorkers and people representing our tourism industry to name a few,” Sen. Aubertine said. “I, like many of my colleagues, brought these concerns to leadership and the voice of the people we represent was heard loud and clear. I applaud the governor and our leadership in the Legislature for doing the right thing.”

The Senator, who has been referring to these proposals as “peanut taxes” because of how little each one contributed to closing the state’s budget gaps compared to the negative impact they would have on individuals, was especially concerned about the added expense for family activities from recreational sports to satellite television subscribers in the 48th District’s rural areas.

“In tough economic times, people are looking even harder for value in their entertainment dollar to bond with their families and remain a part of the social fabric,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Especially in our most rural areas, where options are limited, people rely on services like satellite television and radio. These taxes would have unfairly discriminated against Upstate and rural New Yorkers and would have added up to little for the state, compared to the impact they would have had on the everyday lives of so many people.”