Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tedisco: Governor Spitzer's State of the State Address Must Call for Property Tax Cap
Says property taxes have reached "crisis levels," calls for the Governor's address to include a property tax cap, no tax increases and a plan to revitalize Upstate's economy

In advance of Governor Eliot Spitzer's second State of the State Address, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today outlined three legislative priorities that, in his opinion, must be included in the Governor's upcoming speech if the Governor is to recapture the mantle of reform that swept him into office.

"During his State of the State Address last year, Governor Spitzer spoke of 'a journey of New Yorkers in need of hope and in search of change.' The Governor was right - New Yorkers desperately want change. However, instead of change, last year saw more of the same political acrimony and gridlock that had come to define state government. Now is the time to get New York back on track and make the reform agenda - an agenda that millions of New Yorkers thought they were getting when they went to the polls back in 2006 - a reality," Tedisco said.

"New York can turn the page on a year of squandered opportunities and unrealized promises if the Governor's address focuses on what I believe are the top three issues needing to be resolved to secure New York's future prosperity: a property tax cap, no new tax increases and a real plan for fixing the Upstate economy," Tedisco said.

"First and foremost, the Governor needs to call for a property tax cap. Property taxes have reached crisis levels in New York State. Organization after organization - from the Public Policy Institute, to the Empire Center, to the Citizens Budget Commission - agree that property taxes in our state have spiraled out of control and, if left unchecked, will continue contributing to New York's decline. The answer is to cap property taxes, just as states like Massachusetts have successfully done. Anything less than a property tax cap is a half-hearted band-aid that will only serve to slow, not stop, the hemorrhaging of our people, jobs and tax base," Tedisco said.

"Secondly, Governor Spitzer needs to honor his promise of no new taxes. And the Governor should be crystal clear in understanding whether it's called a 'revenue enhancer,' 'loophole closure,' fee, surcharge or toll, any time the state government reaches into taxpayers' pockets and takes more of their hard-earned money, it's a tax increase, plain and simple. New Yorkers can't afford any more tax increases, regardless of what they're called or how they're described," Tedisco stated.

"Third, the Governor should address his failure to revitalize an Upstate economy that remains mired in a quicksand of job loss, high-energy prices and residential flight. What's most troubling is that it's been almost a year and we're still waiting for coherent, comprehensive action from this Governor to jumpstart Upstate and reverse decades of economic decline. The Governor's address should outline - in detail - his plan to renew Upstate," Tedisco said.

"Unless the Governor delivers substantive proposals to deal with each of these priorities in his forthcoming speech, then I don't see how real change will be achieved. By any measure, if these three issues aren't addressed, then I think the Governor's speech will have been a missed opportunity, ultimately seen as more of the same empty rhetoric New Yorkers are tired of hearing. We all know what the problems are - now, more than ever, the question is whether Governor Spitzer will master this moment and show he has the political will to solve them," Tedisco concluded.

New York State Assembly
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