July 8, 1999
To refocus Albany on need for
tax cuts, Council resumes 'electronic advocacy'
Members are urged to use Council Web site to ask lawmakers to cut taxes this
The Business Council has resumed an intensive Web-based "electronic advocacy" project designed to refocus lawmakers' attention on the need for further tax reductions this year.
The renewed "e-advocacy" campaign was begun after budget negotiations broke down late last month. It was widely reported that Governor Pataki and the legislative leaders were close to agreement on a deal but that tax cuts, a top priority of The Council, did not figure prominently in negotiations."Our initial 'e-advocacy' effort of several months made clear that the business community strongly supports more tax cuts, but somehow the issue lost prominence in budget discussions," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "By renewing this effort now, we will make clear how important this issue is to employers and to New York's economy," he added.
All Council members are urged to visit the home page and click on the tax-cut icon atop the right-hand column on the home page.
This will bring users to a page from which they can automatically generate letters urging tax cuts. Users can select their preferred tax cuts from a list of 15 options. The letters will be sent to Governor Pataki, legislative leaders and chairs of relevant legislative committees, and to the users' own elected representatives, and to key legislative and executive-branch staff members.The Council unveiled this site earlier this year after months of research by Council staff and key members on new tax cuts and reforms that should be advocated. Since the site was created, more than 20,000 letters have been faxed to legislative leaders and key staff. "Business is dismayed that lawmakers, wrangling over a surplus created by prosperity, are apparently talking little about tax reduction, the policy likeliest to expand our prosperity," Walsh said in a statement released after budget negotiations broke down."We urge lawmakers not to succumb to the inevitable temptation that accompanies good times: to spend imprudently without regard to the long-term tax burden. New York has made this mistake before. We like to think the lesson has been learned."He cited other states that also have healthy revenues and are mulling or enacting tax cuts. These states include Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Michigan, Colorado and Wisconsin. He said The Council's tax-cut priorities include:
- Reduction in the bank and insurance tax rates to the new level of the general corporate tax rate, 7.5 percent.
- Further reduction of the gross receipts tax and other taxes on energy and telecommunications customers.
- Elimination of the petroleum business tax and the ton mileage tax.
- Further reduction of the alternative minimum tax, which primarily affects manufacturers and the securities industry.
- Expanded sales tax exemptions for investments in telecommunications and broadcasting equipment.