The Tax Capital of America

Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
April 17, 2009

While it probably won’t come as a surprise for everyone who just finished paying their taxes, a recent Wall Street Journal editorial called New York the “tax capital of the world” – and for good reason. The $8.2 billion in taxes, fees and other revenue actions imposed by the 2009-10 State Budget will hit middle-class families and small businesses especially hard, while further eroding our state’s economic competitiveness.

All those taxes and fees mean fewer employers looking to New York for locating or expanding their business – and more New Yorkers opting for a less costly state to live in, somewhere government does not penalize their hard work, thrift and initiative.

New York’s tax problem came into sharp focus this Wednesday, April 15, a day so many hard-working New Yorkers dread – Tax Day – when they pay for Albany’s misplaced priorities. Usually, April 15 comes and goes with little fanfare: New Yorkers pay their taxes and a special interest-dominated Albany continues business as usual.

However, this year saw something different. All across New York, taxpayers fed-up and frustrated with Albany’s crushing tax burden took part in “Taxpayer Tea Parties” to express their displeasure. The message from these statewide grassroots events was intended for both political parties: stop the partisan bickering, end the legislative gridlock and work together to find solutions – not Republican or Democrat solutions, but real solutions – to solve our tax problem.

Our Assembly Minority Conference embraces that message, which is why we are advancing public policies to reverse decades of bad tax policies that have hamstrung our economy and resulted in millions saying a new state slogan: “I Leave New York.”

Specifically, some of our Conference’s legislative solutions for delivering real tax relief include:

  • Cap Property Taxes: Capping property taxes would save taxpayers and school districts approximately $16 billion over five years. Our Conference has introduced legislation – the “New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act” – that would cap property taxes and has been endorsed by 74 municipalities across our state. Even Governor David Paterson called for a tax cap in his State of the State Address;
  • Protect STAR and Enhanced STAR: Ensure the School TAx Relief (STAR) and Enhanced STAR programs continue providing real property tax relief for overtaxed homeowners and senior citizens; and
  • Eliminate Taxes on Manufacturers: As Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Manufacturing, I traveled New York hearing directly from manufacturers on how state government could remove obstacles to their success. What I heard repeatedly was the need for reducing, or eliminating, job-killing taxes New York imposes on manufacturers, especially the State Corporate Franchise and Income Taxes.

These are just some of the bi-partisan solutions our Conference is working to achieve so New York will again be known as the capital of commerce, not high taxes.

As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter, should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at