New York, Grandma, and the Hungry

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New York State has a virtual flat tax on incomes over $20,000 a year ($40,000 for those filing jointly). That’s immoral.

Why? Lower-income Americans, according to Alabama Law Professor and expert on the relationship between the Bible and taxation Susan Pace Hamill,

“are bearing the brunt of the substantial tax savings enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans in the form of having much less access to minimum subsistence, decent healthcare and housing as well education and job training.”

(Should you want her more detailed argument. click here. Download icons are at the bottom of the page.)

But New York cannot see its way even to raise taxes on millionaires. Even a little. Just temporarily.

Eeeeeeeek. Noooooooo! No new taxes. They cut emergency food funding instead. To hell with people showing up at church soup kitchens. Governor Paterson and the Legislature tell the hungry:

“No soup for you!”

They got priorities. Also, they still have a hole to fill. So

Hundreds of millions of dollars raised for specific programs were seized by the Paterson administration to balance the last state budget, a practice the governor plans to continue and expand this year.

A total of $100 million was “swept” from special accounts dedicated for such things as promoting New York’s wine industry, neutering pets or fixing snowmobile trails in the just-closed budget year.

It marks the first time the state raided such special accounts in a blanketed way to cover general spending commitments.

Another $437 million was transferred from agency programs to the general fund in the 2007-2008 budget. For example, $1.2 million was taken from lobbying enforcement and $10 million in state building administration.

And the state, which continues to look for spare money to pay bills amid lagging revenues, is likely to sweep even more this year.

Awwww… who needs to promote the wine industry anyhow? And lobbying enforcement? Pffffftttt. But it ain’t over yet, kids.

The budget just passed for 2008-2009 allows the DOB to find $150 million more in any special revenue accounts it deems overstocked.

That’s in addition to some specific sweeps already authorized in the new budget — $125 million from the Environmental Protection Fund, which is supposed to be for forest land purchases, and $95 million from the state’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, set up to help low income people age 65 and older afford prescription drugs.

Plus, more fund transfers will be necessary, stripping agency budgets of money for planned purposes.

Uhhh… taking grandma’s medication money away starts to get a mite scary, boys. You don’t care whom you run over just to save the wealthy your benefactors paying your fair share of taxes, do you?


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