With November’s elections behind us, we finally have an opportunity to look past partisan politics and look toward solving, the many on-going problems facing our great state.
For the last four years, fiscal responsibility has been a catch phrase, thrown around during those months leading up to elections, and then no follow up after. This disregard for what must be done in order to ensure the solvency of our state, has left us with the following: an unemployment rate of 10%, a state pension fund in crisis, and a projected state budget deficit of 9.2 Billion Dollars.
These problems are all of our responsibilities, both the Assembly, the Senate, and you, the Executive-elect. We must work together to fix it. We must put aside partisan politics, and work to achieve the following, which we all know is the only way to achieve financial security:
1. A mandate to stop any and all tax increases, specifically those on business and personal income. We must work from within to fix our financial situation. New York State Government cannot hold others responsible when it becomes financially unstable. For too long the answer to government overspending was to increase taxes, and this must stop. Now. We must also ensure that S-Corporations, or family owned businesses, receive the same benefits as others. These types of businesses get hit the hardest, and usually loose out on tax credits and cuts because they falls above certain tax parameters (i.e. the AMT). All businesses deserve a fair shake, especially family owned businesses.
2. An immediate cap on property taxes. New York is ranked 5th among all states with one of the highest per capita property taxes. In fiscal year 2008, New Yorkers paid, on average, over $2,000 per person. We must make the American dream of owning a home in New York State realistic again.
3. Impose realistic measures for decreasing Medicare and Welfare fraud. We must impose a reliable means test, to ensure that only those who truly need these services get them. Our current system of checks and balances is inadequate. We need to implement a straightforward assets test. This will close loopholes, in the hope to stop this abuse.
4. Promote job creation in New York. While there is merit in a tax credit for those hiring unemployed workers, we must go further than that. First, these tax credits should be long lasting, ensuring that we continue to reduce unemployment in our state. It is imperative that we get New Yorkers working again, as this is the steam engine of our economy.
I am optimistic about next year, but we must work together in order to provide real results, and not, another term of empty promises.