Assemblymen James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga), George Amedore (R,C-Rotterdam), Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson), Tony Jordan (R,C-Jackson), and Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) today joined members of the business community and other legislators to sign a “tax-free pledge” for the 2010 executive budget. At the event, held in the New York State Legislative Office Building, the assemblymen spoke of the importance of fiscal discipline in the upcoming year. The pledge commits legislators to spending restraint and increased transparency, as well as a promise to vote against any proposed state tax increase contained in this year’s budget.
“Had we practiced fiscal restraint years ago, our state would not be facing such an ominous budget scenario,” Tedisco said. “But the time has come to stop the bleeding and hold elected officials accountable for their actions. This is a simple way in which New Yorkers can see where their elected officials stand. Are they willing to insist on greater transparency, are they willing to refuse to increase our spending, and are they willing to rule out tax hikes? It’s time they go on record so we can rescue this economy and restore the public’s confidence in state government. We have heard the rhetoric before; it is time for legislators and the governor to sign this pledge.”
Speakers highlighted the necessity for such a commitment entering the legislative and budget session as the state faces an estimated $7.4 billion deficit. Legislators entered last year’s budget negotiations with a smaller budget deficit. However, spending was increased by $11 billion and the budget was ultimately balanced by measures such as “one-shot” federal stimulus money and raising taxes, fees, and surcharges by $8.2 billion.
“Our state is at a critical crossroads. State government is broken and its taxpayers are strained from years of overspending and tax increases,” said Amedore. “I am signing this pledge to send a message to politicians to make the tough decisions needed to bring our fiscal house in order. We must fight against tax increases, fight for greater transparency in government and create savings for taxpayers. It is time that taxpayers found out who wants to make a difference for them in Albany and who does not.”
“This legislature cannot tax and spend its way out of the abyss that has been built by years of reckless spending,” said Ball. “This pledge must be taken seriously and members on both sides of the aisle need to wake up and realize that the party is over. We must get New York State back on track and break this state’s addiction to spending.”
“Since early last year, Unshackle Upstate’s core objectives have been to reduce the taxes and fees that are forced upon businesses and taxpayers in New York,” said Sampson. “2010 is a turning point. It is the year that the business community and taxpayers demand accountability from their elected officials. We acknowledge and support Assemblyman Tedisco, his colleagues and any other elected official that is willing to stand up and point out that we are an overtaxed people, and that pattern needs to stop with this budget. We encourage all members of the Assembly and Senate, as well as the governor, to join the pledge for no new taxes, fees, assessment or increased state debt in the upcoming budget.”
Members who already have agreed to sign the pledge but were unable to attend the press conference include Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and Assemblymen Jim Bacalles, Mike Fitzpatrick, Cliff Crouch, Joe Errigo and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava.