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January 24, 2003

Governor: New York must ignore mounting pressure to raise taxes

Governor George Pataki has emphatically rejected proposals for higher taxes that an increasing number tax-and-spend advocacy groups have been advancing.

"Already there are those rushing forward urging us to take the path that New York and other states have taken before-massive job-killing taxes," the Governor said in remarks Jan. 22 before the Association for a Better New York.

"But we know what happened the last time state government chose taxes instead of jobs. They made the wrong choice, and New Yorkers suffered for it."

Next year's budget deficit will be near $10 billion, and the state still must close a remaining deficit of more than $2 billion in the current year, the Governor said.

Echoing themes he sounded in his State of the State message Jan. 8, the Governor said New York faces a choice between higher taxes and more jobs-and must choose jobs.

"I know we will not repeat the mistakes of the past, when government put its own interests first, forgetting that it is the private sector and the working families of this great state that will propel us out of crisis and into a brighter future," the Governor said.

The Governor noted that higher state taxes in the late 1980s and early 1990s devastated New York's economy.

"New York lost more jobs than any other state. Those tax increases turned a national recession into a New York depression," he added.

"If New York's tax burden increases relative to other states, businesses and jobs will flow out of New York. It's what happened before. Let other states take that path. Let us choose jobs. Let us choose growth."

The Governor repeated his commitment to proposing a budget that spends less money, adding: "It will require cuts in some of our most precious programs and projects-many of which I have championed personally."