Last week, Islipís working families and seniors were saved from a laundry list of nuisance taxes proposed in the executive budget. This recession already has working families struggling to get by, and the governorís proposed budget which included new or increased taxes and fees is the wrong approach to get New York back on track. The Legislature and governor reached an agreement to reject a list of new taxes and fees.
These nuisance taxes would have affected the goods and services that Islip families use everyday. Penalizing day-to-day living, whether itís turning on the television, getting a haircut, buying a soft drink or sports drink, or downloading music is the wrong way to balance our budget. It would have placed an even heavier burden on the backs of Suffolk County taxpayers instead of finding a socially and fiscally responsible approach.
I have fought against regressive taxes like these for years. Since elected, I have voted against tax increases over 200 times and delivered tax relief through measures like the Empire State Child Tax Credit and capping the state sales tax on gasoline. In 2006 I voted to permanently eliminate the stateís 4 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear under $110 and was pleased to see the Governor and Senate joined me in rejecting the reinstatement of this regressive tax.
However, we do need to make some tough decisions to help the state close our $15 billion deficit. But it shouldnít disproportionately fall on the backs of working families. Thatís why I am advocating that the wealthiest New Yorkers pay a little more in the form of a modest income surcharge on individuals earning more than $1 million annually, which is $20,000 per week. With this revenue, generated by those who can most afford to pay it, we will not have to sacrifice the investment in our childrenís education or compromise the quality, affordable healthcare our families deserve.
Iím committed to doing everything possible to ensure a fair, balanced budget that preserves the quality of life of local residents and moves the stateís economy forward.