New York State Tax-Free Budget Pledge - Now

Legislative Column from Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga)
April 7, 2010
Here we go again. It’s budget time in Albany and once again the public will face a barrage of promises from some elected officials. With each new year, there is talk of fiscal responsibility and promises are made to taxpayers.

Unfortunately, when April comes around, those promises are forgotten and taxpayers are left reeling. That is why I have created and circulated a 2010 “New York State Tax-Free Budget Pledge”. Legislators must sign the pledge and not just give their verbal commitment.

The pledge will hold public officials accountable for their actions and will allow the taxpaying public to see who is really on their side and who supports curbing spending, cutting taxes and increasing transparency. You can go to The Saratogian to access a recent opinion piece titled “Truth or consequences in New York’s 2010 Budget”, which more fully explains the details of the pledge.

I created the pledge after hearing from people from my district and across the state. New Yorkers have had enough of the dysfunction that has become synonymous with Albany and with politicians talking the talk but refusing to walk the walk. Whether the message is delivered by way of an executive budget or through a purported Deficit Reduction Plan, too many of our public officials say one thing and do another.

If all of the politicians who said they were opposed to raising taxes and increasing government spending were true to their word, New York would not be the second-highest taxed state in the nation.

Legislative bodies made up of fiscally responsible people should never have to deal with $9 billion budget deficits. Remember when Governor Paterson and legislative leaders vowed not to raise taxes in January of 2009, but then, after one of the most closed budget negotiations ever, created a budget that raised taxes and fees by approximately $8.2 billion and increased spending by $11 billion?

This year, despite promises not to raise taxes, the governor has proposed an additional $1 billion in, you guessed it, taxes. The Assembly Majority’s budget resolution contains $2 billion in borrowing just for this year. When I asked the Ways and Means chairman on the floor of the Assembly if this plan would do anything to solve the structural budget deficit, he said no and added that it would get us through the year. This plan can be best defined as just another “one shot” which will leave a gaping hole in the 2011 budget. It is past time for all state elected officials to sign the “tax-free budget pledge”. If not now, when?