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November 5, 2003

Spitzer: New York's taxes and debt are too high

New York's taxes and debt burden are too high, New York's attorney general told business leaders last month.

The Business Review, a business weekly newspaper circulating in the Capital Region, quoted Eliot Spitzer as saying, "We [in state government] have not shown the fiscal restraint that you in the private sector are obligated to show."

The article added: "State government needs to control its spending and its debt load to make New York competitive with Ohio, North Carolina, and India and China as well, he said." Spitzer added that both Republican and Democratic administrations have tended to over-spend and over-borrow, the article added.

Spitzer, a Democrat, spoke Oct. 23 to the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Spitzer has sounded similar themes in the past.

For example, in Sept. 16 remarks to the Association for a Better New York, Spitzer argued that government's role "is not to protect the status quo, but rather to help guide the state and its citizens through periods of profound change."

This means that, as New York's economy changes, government must provide economic opportunities, identify and nurture engines of economic growth, and create and retain good jobs.

New York is not now doing that, he said.

"How can we say that [we're doing that] when our population and job retention rates are so low . . . . [and] when the tax burden and debt are so high?"

In both recent speeches, Spitzer also criticized public authorities, which he compared to off-balance sheet partnerships at Enron. "They are breeding grounds for inertia, incompetence, and, at times, worse," he said in September.