Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R, C, I – Schoharie) applauded the Governor’s decision to rescind eight of the 137 proposed new and increased taxes and fees that were part of the Executive Budget proposal. Included in the rescinded proposals are the Governor’s plan to create state and local taxes on ski resorts, bowling alleys and other recreation and tourism-based businesses, measures which Assemblyman Lopez has been actively fighting against.
“While Governor Paterson’s announcement offers some relief, I am still alarmed by the remaining billions in new taxes and fees, which will dig even deeper into the pockets of families and businesses who are in the grip of the recession and have nothing left to give,” stated Assemblyman Lopez, who, in addition to holding a press conference with Senator Seward and members of the ski industry, has been working with other local businesses to ensure their messages opposing these taxes were heard in Albany.
Richard Shultes, owner of Middleburg Lanes, said, “I think the State Legislators did a good job of getting our concerns over these taxes to the Governor and as a small-business owner I am glad they have been rescinded. I know that times are tough and probably some taxes will need to be raised, but, hopefully, Albany can stop the spending. For any taxes that are raised, I hope they are done so in a fair manner that does not hurt businesses.”
Tim Woods, President and General Manager of Windham Mountain, said, “Windham Mountain and ski resorts in New York are very pleased to have had Assemblyman Lopez and Senator Seward’s support in defeating this tax. We are in a very competitive market and this tax would have done much more harm to the upstate economy than I think anyone initially considered. This is some of the best news we have had in the last couple of years.”
Russell R. Coloton, Jr., President of Hunter Mountain, said, “We appreciate all of the efforts of Assemblyman Lopez to defeat this tax that would have increased the cost of skiing at a time when our economy is struggling.”
Scott Brandi, President and Executive Director of the Ski Areas of New York, said, “Statewide, the ski industry is an integral part of our economy, contributing over $1.1 billion to our state economy annually. During the winter, the ski industry is the economic engine upstate. I am grateful to Senator Seward and Assemblyman Lopez for taking the time to put together a press event that helped gain attention which helped stop this misguided tax. They spent a lot of time helping to stop this proposal and we are thankful to the Legislators for working to defeat it. I hope this type of tax is not proposed in the future.”
In December, the Governor proposed creating or increasing 137 taxes and fees in an effort to help bridge the multi-billion dollar budget gap. These taxes and fees would have cost over $4 billion to taxpayers statewide, or over $3,800 per family. The Governor announced that he was rescinding eight of these taxes and fees, for a total of $1.3 billion.
The eight rescinded taxes and fees include: changing the sales tax exemption on clothing under $110; creating a tax on non-dietetic beverages; extending state and local sales taxes on cable and satellite television; narrowing the projects eligible for the capital improvements sales tax exemption; creating state and local sales taxes for services such as hair cuts, tanning and massage; creating state and local sales taxes on movie tickets, bowling alleys, golf courses and gym memberships; creating a tax on internet downloads; and the increased sales tax on certain types of store coupons.
Assemblyman Lopez concluded, “Balancing our budget, growing our economy and providing sustainable financial resources for essential programs will take creative thinking and tough decisions. Piling more costs on the backs of our working families cannot be part of this solution, and I will continue to fight the taxes and regulations that threaten to strangle our homes and communities.”