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March 28, 2008

Business Council blitzes lawmakers with budget message: Raising taxes is not the answer

ALBANY— The Business Council has launched the third wave in its media blitz to state lawmakers, calling for additional reductions in state spending and no new taxes or fees in the FY09 budget.

The Council's “Tough Budget Choices” radio ad began playing in the Albany media market this morning, calling on lawmakers and the Governor to reduce spending in the state budget by making the same kind of difficult budget choices that legislatures in other states have done.

“Tough fiscal times call for tough budget choices, right?” the radio ad begins. “Well, not here in New York. While states like New Jersey and Florida are biting the bullet with budgets that keep spending in line with falling revenues, New York thinks it can tax and spend its way out of a $4.6 billion deficit. It can't.”

The ad continues, “we have to reduce state spending and eliminate a billion dollars in new business-killing taxes and fees. Other states are already making the tough choices and cutting spending in these tough times. So let's tell Governor Paterson and the Legislature to do the same.”

The radio ad is the third in a string of efforts to persuade lawmakers that now is clearly not the time for significant increases in state spending and more than a billion dollars in new taxes and fees for New York businesses.

On Wednesday The Business Council delivered copies of president and CEO Kenneth Adams' March 20 Buffalo news op-ed ("Paterson starts well, but must keep state competitive") to all members of the Legislature. In the op-ed, Adams said that Governor Paterson's recently announced spending reductions would still result in a budget that increases overall spending by 3.7% as compared to last year, and did not address a proposed $1.3 billion in new taxes and fees that would increase costs for New York businesses at a time when they can least afford it.

Thursday, lawmakers received another print ad in their Albany offices, with the headline “Tough fiscal times mean tough budget choices ... at least in New Jersey, Florida and California.”

The ad compares other states' budget responses to New York's. New Jersey, for example, is facing a $3 billion budget deficit, the ad states. Trenton's budget response cuts a half-billion dollars from the New Jersey spending plan—resulting in spending levels that are actually lower than the previous year. The ad goes on to state that California's deficit stands at $16 billion, and its budget response is a 10% across-the-board cut in state spending.

New York, by comparison, faces a $4.6 billion deficit and proposed a 5% increase in spending, with $1.3 billion in new taxes and fees, says the ad. “Competing states are already making the tough choices needed to keep their local economies strong. It's time for New York to do the same,” urges the ad. “Raising taxes is NOT the answer!” it concludes.