What Message Does New York’s Budget Send?

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The big problem: New York State government’s deficit is nearly $5 billion, while a recession is going on, meaning revenues probably will go down further and demand for services will go up more.

What would a responsible government do? 

1. A responsible government

might take a look at the inanity of New York’s virtual flat tax on incomes over $20,000 a year ($40,000 for couples filing jointly) — and readjust brackets upward for higher incomes, instead of maintaining the faux-progressive income tax system we have.

But nooooo. This Governor and legislature won’t even adjust the brackets — even temporarily! — on people making more than a million dollars a year. That would have brought in an extra $1.5 billion. A sensible readjustment, starting with incomes over $200,000, would have closed the deficit altogether. Instead, this government expects to get another $1.5 billion by closing some tax loopholes and expanding taxes and fees on items such as cigarettes, museum souvenirs and manicures.

Good time to quit smoking, kids. Unless you want to argue you’re supporting your government, which would be true. But dang. Can’t believe those plastic dinosaurs are gonna cost more.

2. A responsible government

would cut back on the pork.

But nooooo. This Governor and legislature appropriated $200 million in funds from past years to pay for “member items” (Albanese for “pork”) on the grounds that using the money for pressing needs would be impractical.

3. A responsible government

would realize that people are hurting, especially during a recession, and budget accordingly. 

But nooooo. This Governor and legislature wouldn’t even raise the measly basic welfare grant, which last saw an increase in 1990. Lotsa luck living on $291 a month (if you’re a family of three). Oh, and for good measure, lotsa luck if you’re going hungry. This Governor and legislature cut funding for emergency food programs across the state by 16%, from $33.3 million last year to just $27.9 million this year.

The Times Union asks:

What message does all that send to New Yorkers?

A very different one, certainly, than what Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno wants them to hear.

“I don’t want to be one of the pessimists who says the sky is falling, we’re going over a cliff, it’s doomsday,” he says. “I don’t buy that.”

Well, what message does all that send to New Yorkers?

Comments anyone?


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