February 2003
Focus on Taxes

From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Chair, Ways and Means Committee

The governor’s budget will take money from working families

"[D]espite all the rhetoric, this proposed budget would actually lead to tremendous increases in local property taxes by shifting more of the burden of paying for good schools to property taxpayers."

– Alan B. Lubin, Executive Vice President, New York State United Teachers

"The proposed budget would not only cut deeper into Medicaid reimbursement for health care services, it also imposes a ‘sick tax’ on the most vulnerable New Yorkers — those who are receiving hospital, nursing home, and home care."

– Daniel Sisto, President, Healthcare Association of New York State

"The impact on communities which now are overburdened is going to be incredible. It might be so significant that empire-zone boards might decide not to give incentives because they can’t afford them."

– Brian McMahon, Executive Director of the New York State Economic Development Council, on the governor’s plan to cut Empire Zones

"Nobody has money for spending, and if you start changing taxes, who’s going to buy?"

– Susie Wong, discount clothing store manager

"You can define job-killing taxes anyway you want. But if you increase a tax targeted at a specific industry, you are potentially affecting employment in that industry at a very vulnerable economic time."

- E.J. McMahon, Manhattan Institute

Governor’s wrong budget choices hike taxes $6.7 billion — kill job programs.

After weeks of promising not to raise taxes, the governor released a budget proposal containing nearly $6.7 billion in numerous hidden taxes, fees, and surcharges – showing that his rhetoric doesn’t match reality.

One look at his proposal and you can see he’s attempting to balance the budget by taking money directly out of the pockets of working families and the most vulnerable members of our society – those who are least able to bear the burden of his failed economic development policies. The governor put us in this spot by having failed to take advantage of the longest economic expansion in our nation’s history. Our economy was already suffering before the devastating effects of September 11 — now we’ve got nothing but tough choices to make.

Picking the pockets of working families

Despite promises not to raise taxes, the governor’s proposal includes several back-door hikes that will hurt New York’s working families the most, including:

  • discontinuing the tax exemption on clothing and shoes;

  • hiking SUNY and CUNY tuition by $1,200 and cutting TAP awards by one-third;

  • slashing school aid $1.4 billion and freezing the STAR program.

Shifting the cost of a quality education on to property taxpayers

By slashing school aid $1.4 billion, increasing class sizes, and shutting down pre-K programs, the governor jeopardizes our children’s education and pushes the cost onto property taxpayers. He’s also proposing a $1,200 tuition increase for SUNY and CUNY as well as a one-third cut to the TAP program — putting the college dream out of reach for too many families.

Hidden taxes that make health care less affordable

The governor’s $2 billion cut to health care and Medicaid funding will make the already high cost of health care coverage rise for millions of New Yorkers. The governor’s damaging budget proposals raise fees for the EPIC program by 10 percent, reinstate at a higher rate a 0.7 percent tax on hospitals, and impose a 0.6 percent tax increase on other certified home health agencies, home care agencies, and personal care agencies.

Eliminating job-creating tax incentives

When the Assembly called for a coordinated economic development program to build on New York’s unique regional strengths, the governor balked and continued pushing his failed policies — leaving New York almost last in the nation in economic growth. Now, he wants to cut state support for Empire Zones — the most successful job-creation plan in New York’s history — forcing local communities struggling to turn their economies around to either pay up, or risk losing more jobs and businesses.

The Assembly is committed to working families

During upcoming budget negotiations, the Assembly will work to make the right choices for New York by fighting tax hikes while protecting the vital services we depend on — without putting the burden on working families and the most vulnerable of our citizens.

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