Inaction On Legislation Costing State Taxpayers $400 Million

Legislative column by Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I-Canandaigua)
December 5, 2008

During these difficult financial times, the state Legislature must do everything it can to rein in excessive spending and increase revenues in a crucial effort to avoid raising taxes on families already stretched beyond their means. One way we can bring in new revenues is by ensuring that cigarettes sold in New York State by Native-American businesses are taxed in accordance with the law.

Earlier this year, both houses of the state Legislature passed a bill that provides the framework for certifying cigarettes sold in New York by Native-Americans allowing the state to collect the appropriate amount of sales tax. This measure alone could save state taxpayers about $400 million. By doing so, lawmakers can use this money to offset cuts in vital education or healthcare funding. While this legislation (A.11258-A/S.8146-A) was passed by the state Assembly and Senate back in June, the Assembly Speaker has yet to submit this bill to the Governor for his signature or veto.

That is why this week I joined state Senator Michael Nozzolio, who sponsored this legislation, in calling on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to release this approved legislation to the Governor so that he may take the necessary action. The bottom line is that this legislation had overwhelming support in the Assembly, but the Governor cannot take action until it is forwarded to him from the Assembly Speakerís office.

Furthermore, it is appalling that a standing rule in the Assembly has been ignored in an effort to hold this legislation. An internal rule dictates that any legislation adopted by the Assembly after June 1, as this one was, must be sent to the Governor within 45 days. Here we are almost 120 days later and the bill still hasnít made it to the Governorís desk Ė a mere one floor down from the Speakerís office in the state Capitol. That is simply unacceptable!

At a time when upstate families are struggling to make ends meet, the state has a responsibility to do everything in its power to ease their burdens so that they may live, work and prosper. There is no reason why this legislation, which could bring in an estimated $400 million in revenues, should languish any longer. The Speaker must take action now!

Constituents with questions regarding this topic or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or e-mail me at