Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2008

Assembly Minority Offers Budget Amendments To Alleviate New Yorkers' "Middle Class Squeeze"

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and members of the Assembly Minority Conference today offered several legislative initiatives to alleviate the "middle class squeeze" that is crushing many New Yorkers. The Minority amendments - stand-alone measures addressing specific deficiencies of the Assembly Majority's budget plan - would have eased the state's tax burden, enhanced economic development and job creation, improved health care and reduced the cost of government.

"Let me be absolutely clear on this: these common sense amendments are not about partisan politics. Rather, they were a bi-partisan, nonpartisan attempt by my colleagues to help New York's overtaxed, overburdened middle class families caught in a 'painful middle class squeeze,' struggling to pay for the nation's highest property taxes as gas and food prices continue to skyrocket in the midst of a national economic recession," said Tedisco.

"Unfortunately, the Assembly Majority pushed for a state budget that further squeezes the middle class," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes (R,C-Amherst), ranking Minority member on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. "This one-house budget is bad for the economy and it will hurt families who are already struggling financially and feeling the pressure of higher tolls on the Thruway, higher prices at the grocery store and outrageously higher prices at the gas pump. We need to work together in a bi-partisan fashion to rein in state spending, pay down debt, and cut taxes for homeowners and businesses."

Specifically, the Assembly Minority's proposed measures would have:

Relieved the Financial Burden on Taxpayers

  • Eliminated the personal income tax on state property tax rebate checks;

  • Provided middle-class families income tax cuts for individuals earning $75,000 or less and families earning $150,000 or less; and

  • Offered a tax credit for home heating fuel to help thousands of seniors and families struggling to stay afloat, especially during harsh winters.

Promoted Economic Development and Job Creation

  • Eliminated the Corporate Franchise Tax and Personal Income Taxes for manufacturers;

  • Proposed the "Small Business Relief Act" to help small businesses survive and thrive; and

  • Supported elimination of all state gas taxes to save commuters and businesses 32 cents per gallon.

Reduced the Cost of State Government and Cut Waste and Duplication of Services

  • Eliminate the Thruway Authority and have the Department of Transportation assume its responsibilities, thus eliminating $12.5 million in tolls and inefficiencies;

  • Eliminate the Office of Real Property Services and have the Department of Taxation and Finance assume its responsibilities, saving $18 million; and

  • Required a 15 percent cut on operating costs (excluding payroll) across all state agencies, the Legislature, and Executive Chamber for savings of over $416 million.

Editor's Note: Copies of the Amendments offered today by the Assembly Minority Conference are available by calling (518) 455-5073 or (518) 229-4632.

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