Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tedisco: Middle-Class Homeowners, Motorists Getting Squeezed
Says out-of-control property taxes, gas prices affect the most but get little attention

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) said today that out-of-control property taxes and gas prices are the two issues that negatively affect the greatest number of New Yorkers but they aren't being seriously addressed in the waning days of the 2007 legislative session.

"The silent majority, the non-special interests, the great multitude of New Yorkers are being crushed by out-of-control and rising property taxes and gas prices and next to nothing is being done about it," said Tedisco. "We're addressing important issues but we're not addressing the most important issues that affect the greatest number of our citizens and that's a major concern. People aren't fleeing the state because of violent video games or human trafficking. They are fleeing because they are being taxed to death."

Tedisco said the problem lies in the fact that New York's spending appetite continues unabated. Tedisco was one of the few critics and dissenters of this year's state budget that increased spending more than three times the rate of inflation.

"Taxes are the oxygen in the spending flames. We need to contain this fire by lowering taxes and reining in spending," said Tedisco, who added that more than 1.2 million New Yorkers have moved out of the state since 2000 - the biggest such loss experienced by any state.

In recent weeks, Tedisco has put forward comprehensive proposals to tackle rising property taxes and gas prices.

His property tax reform plan would cap the amount a school district could hike tax levies to 4 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Massachusetts and New Jersey have already instituted similar caps. The plan would also eliminate any unfunded mandate to school districts or municipalities costing $10,000 a year or more, and require the state to take over the costs of all "optional" Medicaid services (services not required by the federal government). The plan has numerous other components designed to help school districts and municipalities lower their costs.

His three-point plan for gas-prices would cut state taxes on gasoline by 12.5 cents to bring New York in line with the Northeast average, promote alternative fuels and vehicles, and fast-track the availability of ethanol fuel at the 27 Thruway Service Stations across the state.

Current prices for the alternative fuel E-85 at one of the two New York stations that sell it is $2.59, about 50-60 cents cheaper than regular gasoline. Tedisco's "Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund" would use the remaining undedicated sales tax revenue on gasoline ($250-$500 million) to provide tax credits, grants, investments and other incentives to encourage ownership of hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles and the building of alternative fueling stations and refineries to expand the availability of these fuels in NYS.

An E-85 pump sits at the New Baltimore Travel Plaza in Greene County and was scheduled to open to motorists on October 1st, 2006, with the other 26 stations soon to follow. However, the pump currently lies dormant. The third part of the plan would be to fast-track the 27 Thruway Service Stations to install E-85 pumps. There are approximately 200,000 "flex-fuel" vehicles in New York State that can accept the E-85 fuel. Tedisco said transitioning to alternative fuels such as E-85 and biodiesel would help lower fuel costs through lessened demand for gasoline, as well as provide for a cleaner environment, more agricultural jobs, more manufacturing jobs and greater national security through greater energy independence.

"Property taxes and gas prices, these are the two issues I hear about when I go to the supermarket or when a constituent calls the office. We have helpful relief proposals for both and we still have nearly three weeks to provide relief to middle-class homeowners and motorists," said Tedisco.

New York State Assembly
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