Spending Watch


Bulletin #16: June 29, 1999
News of more spending, one-shots: What about tax cuts?

Agreement on the parameters of a new state budget may finally be at hand. Negotiators for Governor Pataki, the Senate and Assembly reportedly are getting closer to agreement on how much revenue is available for spending this year. The target is said to be hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps more than $1 billion, that could be added to the Executive Budget's $73 billion.

Agreement on a budget would be good news. But the discussions include one piece of very bad news - a raid on the Medical Malpractice Insurance Fund. Employers and individuals who buy health insurance have paid hundreds of millions of dollars into the fund, and budget negotiators are talking about appropriating some of those millions to plow into more spending (rather than returning the money to those who paid it). This sounds discouragingly similar to the one-shots that were used several years ago to boost spending beyond what we could afford.

Even worse, the budget discussions so far apparently do not include what should be the center of attention: tax cuts. There's plenty of attention being paid to more spending, and to a major new one-shot. So where are the tax cuts?

After five years of tax cuts, we haven't won the battle yet

Our state leaders have cut taxes, dramatically, five years in a row. And there's been noticeable improvement in our economy as a result.

But the battle against high taxes isn't over in New York. Our energy taxes are far too high; we need to cut and then eliminate the gross receipts tax, petroleum business tax and ton-mileage tax. Our bank and insurance taxes must be reduced along with the corporate income tax, and the alternative minimum tax cut further. And we need to provide incentives for our telecommunications industry to provide the best of new technology in New York.

So, where are the tax cuts?

The nation is finally paying attention to New York

Those five straight years of tax cuts have other states sitting up and taking notice. It's a clear and convincing trend that business and governmental leaders elsewhere can plainly see is more than political rhetoric. A new budget with a big spending increase, an old-style one-shot, and no significant tax cuts would cost us that newfound respect. So. . .where are the tax cuts?