Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor
Governor Cuomo used to think that the extension of expiring taxes was equal to a new tax. While running for governor he told voters, “If it doesn’t sunset, it’s a new tax.” It looks like he’s flip-flopped. That flip-flop has given us a bad budget with just a few good(ish) items. I’ll be voting no.
Here’s the good(ish), the bad, and the ugly from Governor Cuomo’s budget. Make sure you LIKE and SHARE this on Facebook to help get the word out.
THE GOOD(ISH) Tax rebates The limited group of New Yorkers who receive these rebates will get a much needed tax break. But, this is not a permanent tax cut. The rebates will hit during an election year and then Albany is free to take them away in two years. Permanent cuts to tax rates would have better served New Yorkers and the state. In the past, rebate checks have cost the state up to $2 million dollars in postage. The governor could have done better than this. No taxpayer financed campaigns There’s no mention of taxpayer-funded political campaigns in the budget deal. That’s good for taxpayers because the plan would cost at least $200 million. Taxpayers should not be forced to fund politician’s ambitions. Let’s hope Governor Cuomo drops this idea for good, but my hunch is this could come up again before the end of the session.
THE BAD “Phasing out” the 18a electricity tax It’s not encouraging to hear that instead of eliminating a tax that is set to expire, it will be “phased out.” This tax was set to expire in 2014. Now we’re “phasing it” out over three years. According to candidate Cuomo’s own words, this is a tax increase. There’s no guarantee that future budgets will be bound by the “phase out” plan. Down the road, legislators and the governor may just decide that they still need the revenue and extend the ‘phase out’ period. When a tax is set to expire, let it die. Otherwise, it will live on as a zombie, just waiting for politicians to feed it. It’s a regressive tax. It’s a hidden tax. It should have expired, but it’s likely we’ll see the budget’s tax rebates expire before the electricity tax is finally “phased out.” Extending the high tax rates This isn’t the same thing as Congress passing a tax on high earners. Few people will leave the country because their federal taxes went up. But, New York is competing against other states. This tax hits a very mobile group. They can take their businesses and their tax dollars and move to another state with a more friendly tax environment. Even if most stay, others will never come to New York to start a business in the first place. We want to attract startup companies. This will drive many away.
This is dangerously short-sighted. In the long run, New York will lose jobs and tax dollars. It’s bad for the budget and bad for jobs. Other governors are actually looking to eliminate their state’s income taxes. This is taking New York in the wrong direction. Minimum wage hike This is an unfunded mandate on small businesses that are struggling to survive this economy. Albany is breaking the back of small businesses with unending taxes and regulations. The sad part is that studies show raising the minimum wage means lost jobs for those it was supposed to help.
THE UGLY Cuts to the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) There are plenty of places where New York needs to cut its budget. However, we shouldn’t be starting with funds for society’s most vulnerable. The governor is taking away money from special needs children and building himself a $3 billion slush fund for earmarks. OPWDD is the wrong place to make cuts. People rely on this funding. It makes a real difference in their lives. No unfunded mandate relief The property tax cap has been good for New York taxpayers, but it’s hard to see how it will continue to work without unfunded mandate relief. School districts and municipalities are teetering on the edge of insolvency. Without mandate relief, local taxes will continue to go through the roof. Serious mandate relief is long overdue.
### Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and founder of the Dutchess County based consulting firm KML Strategies, LLC. Lalor is the founder of Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans for Congress and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..