Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2008

Tedisco, Assembly Minority Conference
Observe "Tax Freedom Day"
Call for passage of several legislative initiatives designed to relieve the state's crushing tax burden on New York families

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and the Assembly Minority Conference today observed New York's "Tax Freedom Day," by calling for passage of several targeted legislative initiatives which would reduce the state's crushing tax burden on families.

"Tax Freedom Day" refers to the amount of days individuals must work to earn enough money to pay their combined tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. According to the independent, non-partisan Tax Foundation, New York's 2008 Tax Freedom Day is May 5, the third-highest in the nation. Only New Jersey (May 7) and Connecticut (May 8) have Tax Freedom Days falling later than New York State.

Tom and April Ernst of Greenville, New York, joined Tedisco and his Assembly Minority Colleagues in observing Tax Freedom Day. The Ernsts, who are Greene County homeowners with one young child, TJ (age 8), are representative of a typical middle class family in New York State. Mrs. Ernst, who works two jobs, spoke about the tremendous strain New York's oppressive tax burden puts on their family's budget.

"High taxes make it much harder for families such as ours to make ends meet. Families need real tax relief and for our elected officials in state government to understand that in today's economy, families are really struggling to try and keep up with rising food and fuel costs. Just like a lot of families, it seems like my husband Tom and I are working harder and longer for less, mainly because of high taxes. This has got to change," said April Ernst.

"Runaway state and local taxes are why New York's Tax Freedom Day is one of the latest in the nation. Families across New York face a crushing tax burden, the same burden that has caused the exodus of millions of New Yorkers in favor of states that have lower taxes. If our state is going to become a more affordable place for families, then we must address the number one issue threatening their quality of life: high taxes," Tedisco stated.

Lorie Ruth, a resident of Rotterdam in Schenectady County, also joined Tedisco and the Assembly Minority in speaking on the need for real tax relief as part of Tax Freedom Day.

"There's really no two ways about it: taxes in New York have been too high, for too long. No matter how hard you work or how much you try and save, federal, state and local taxes seem to keep taking more out of your paycheck. As a mother whose daughter who will be going away to college in a few years, I am very worried about whether or not she will stay in New York after graduation, or if high taxes might force her to leave. I know I'm not the only mother - and we're not the only family - who worry about this kind of situation," said Lorie Ruth.

"According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will spend more on taxes in 2008 than they will spend on food, clothing and housing combined," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes (R,C-Amherst). "Constant taxation combined with the rising cost of food, gas and Thruway tolls are making it harder and harder for local families to balance their checkbooks without going into debt. The initiatives I propose today will help lower taxes for Western New Yorkers."

On its website - - the Tax Foundation notes that in 2008, on average, Americans must work 74 days to afford their federal taxes and 39 additional days to pay state and local taxes. Affording food takes 35 days of work, clothing, 13 days, and housing, 60 days. Health care requires 50 days, transportation 29 days and recreation 21 days.

Tedisco and the Assembly Minority conference called for the passage of several legislative initiatives that, if enacted this session, would have a direct impact on reducing the tax burden of New York families by reducing property taxes, enhancing the child care credit, increasing the dependent credit and establishing a summertime gas tax holiday for motorists from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2008.

The legislative initiatives Members of the Assembly Minority Conference are seeking passage of include:

  • Assembly Bill A.8775-A (Fitzpatrick): the "New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act." This initiative would control the growth of school property tax levies by capping them at four percent or the rate of inflation - whichever is lower;

  • Assembly Bill A.4797-A (Errigo): Enhanced Child Care Credit. This initiative would help families by increasing the state income limit from $50,000 to $60,000, for taxpayers who claim 100 percent on their Federal Child and Dependent Care Credit;

  • Assembly Bill A.7048-A (Finch): Dependent Credit and Personal Exemption. This initiative would increase the Dependent Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 and create a new personal exemption of $1,000;

  • Assembly Bill A.10818 (Walker): Enacts a "Summertime Holiday" from state gas taxes. This initiative would suspend the state's three separate taxes on a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel to provide motorists a nearly 33-cents per gallon savings on gasoline and a 31-cent per gallon savings on diesel fuel from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 2008.

"Middle class families are rapidly approaching the end of the line when it comes to taxes," said Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow). "We must look at a responsible set of ways to reduce the financial strain and eliminate the contributing factors that have become so deeply rooted in New York State."

"Families all across New York are being asked to stretch their paychecks to the absolute max," said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown). "We must set the wheels of relief in motion and continue to do so during these tough economic times. It starts with and ends with the spending problem in Albany."

"Today is Tax Freedom Day, a disturbing reminder that the government takes almost half of our hard-earned money away in the form of local, state and federal taxes," said Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie). "High taxes are hitting senior citizens on fixed incomes hard and forcing many of our young families to move out of the state. Local farmers and truck drivers are hurting too, with the rising price of fuel eating into their take-home pay. We must take immediate action to lower taxes for all New Yorkers, especially senior citizens and working families."

"Long Island taxpayers are subjected to some of the highest tax rates in the nation," said Assemblyman James Conte (R,C,I,WF-Huntington Station). "This crushing tax burden is forcing Long Island residents to work longer hours and oftentimes a second job just to get by. To make Long Island and the rest of the state a more affordable place to live, we need to lower many of the state's regressive taxes now. Lowering taxes will make the state a more competitive place to do business, make owning a home more affordable and encourage younger generations of Long Islanders to live and work in the communities they grew up in and love."

"New York families need real tax relief and they need it now. Each of these targeted legislative initiatives introduced by Members of our Assembly Minority Conference would go a long way toward making our state a less taxing place to live and, in so doing, ease the squeeze on family budgets," Tedisco concluded.

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