Spending Watch


Bulletin #15: June 28, 1999
Tax cuts are working for New York - we need to do more

In all the public debate about state spending, let's not forget an even more important topic: tax cuts. New York State has led the nation in cutting taxes the past four years, and that's a key reason we're creating more jobs. We're no longer a "tax hell," as MONEY magazine used to label the Empire State. But we're not exactly a tax haven yet, either.

Everyone in Albany agrees there's a need to cut energy costs further. The most immediate way to do that is to further reduce energy taxes (including the gross receipts and petroleum business taxes) as well as to avert new ones.

And everyone agrees the Upstate economy isn't yet matching the nation's growth. The region is heavily dependent on manufacturing; cutting the alternative minimum tax would generate new capital investment and employment, while further reduction of the ton-mileage tax would benefit manufacturers as well as other shippers. At the same time, it's important to make sure the downstate region's economy enjoys broad-based growth; reducing the bank and insurance taxes to the same level as our new corporate rates will help.

Fortunately, both Governor Pataki and Senator Bruno have introduced major tax-reduction proposals for inclusion in this year's budget. The Assembly Majority's tax package is smaller, but Speaker Silver has spoken often of the need to continue reducing New York's heavy tax burden.

Higher spending threatens the tax cuts we need

Holding this year's spending to a reasonable increase is essential to the long-term effort to cut taxes. There can no turning back on important promises such as cutting our corporate tax rate from 9 to 7.5 percent, reducing the gross receipts tax on utility bills, and fully repealing New York's extra estate tax. In an earlier era, New York's leaders enacted tax cuts, only to break those promises in favor of big tax increases, because spending was out of control. We don't want to go through that again.

For five straight years now, the Governor and the Legislature have enacted tax-reduction plans totaling $1 billion or more - some years, much more. Another round of tax cuts in that range will take us the next big step toward a truly competitive tax structure.

Tax cuts are working for New Yorkers. Let's do more - this year.