Hawley: NYS Tax Freedom Day Needs To Come Earlier

In recognition of New York State’s Tax Freedom Day last weekend, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) highlighted the urgent need for the state to reform its spending habits in order to protect overburdened taxpayers and businesses.

“The people of our state are being taxed out of their homes. Seniors, working families, young residents are all fleeing the state’s exorbitantly high taxes. Albany must reform its spending habits and realize that our government cannot afford to be all things to all people. We must prioritize, especially during these tough fiscal times, and set forth a comprehensive plan that spends taxpayer dollars wisely in order to help revive our economy and our local communities,” said Hawley.

The Assemblyman voted against the 2009-10 State Budget, citing its excessive 10 percent spending increase, coupled with $5.7 billion in taxes and fees. The enacted budget also eliminated the STAR Rebate Check program and reduced STAR tax exemption benefits across the board. Additionally, the budget imposed close to 130 new and increased taxes and fees, including taxes on health insurance, increased SUNY tuition, and increased driver’s license and car registration fees, among others.

Moreover, the enacted budget provided for no mandate relief on local governments, another factor that will increase local school taxes on homeowners. Hawley stated, “Mandate relief is just as important as decreasing the tax burden. When Albany cuts aid for municipalities or imposes mandates without covering the cost, local governments are forced to increase taxes.”

Additionally, the budget eliminates all funding from the local Empire Zone Administration (leaving localities to pick up the cost), stops local jail reimbursement (adding $10 million to local government costs), and slashes VLT funding in counties, such as Genesee.

As noted by the non-partisan, independent Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day refers to when taxpayers have paid off their combined federal, state and local tax obligations. Nationally, Tax Freedom Day arrived on April 13, 2009. Yet, New York’s observance of Tax Freedom Day falls 12 days later, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. New York State’s Tax Freedom Day is the nation’s third latest, behind New Jersey (April 29) and Connecticut (April 30).

Hawley stated, “Unfortunately, this terrible budget continued Albany’s long-standing tradition of over-tax and over-spend. However, there is still time to do right by the people of our state. I hope that the Governor and my colleagues in both houses, from both sides of the aisle, will devote themselves to stopping this ridiculous tax burden and bring to the floor comprehensive tax reform legislation.”