By Assemblyman Jim Tedisco
While New York has moved away from the dysfunction we see in Congress, the economy of our state continues to be hampered by the altered reality that New York always has a revenue problem. In reality, it has a taxing and spending priorities problem.
Though we’ve taken some positive steps to work across party lines with the governor to pass three on-time budgets that eliminated deficits by some reduction in spending, there are still miles to go to keep New York working and open for business.
Unfortunately, what we continue to experience is what can be dubbed the “E(CON)omy of New York state.” The dictionary defines a “con” as a confidence scheme to defraud others.
Government can’t subsidize economic growth and long-term private sector jobs with taxpayer dollars. But it can help remove obstacles and further an environment which allows for the success of our small businesses which historically creates 40 to 60 percent of new jobs so we can move out of this deep recession.
What the state continues to do is treat the symptoms of our ailing economy while refusing to provide the cure. If a doctor gives a patient a cure for their disease, there’d be no need for a treatment to deal with the painful symptoms. We have a government that keeps people tethered to more programs for bureaucrats’ job security.
It’s simple, really. If a doctor gave you a cure for an ailment, there’d be no reason to see them for treatment all the time.
Too often, our state government has created a culture of dependency, spending more and more tax dollars to expand government programs that don’t cure our economic malaise. They simply mollify the systemic pain which keeps our citizenry dependent on government itself and continually locked into their present economic strata.
A part of the cure is to reduce taxes and spending and create a culture that’s open and inviting to small business and job growth. This is a culture that incentivizes individuals to move up the economic ladder instead of relying on taxpayer-funded government handouts.
None of us would accept a doctor who keeps treating the symptoms without providing the option of a cure. What New York has is a government that tries to mitigate economic pain by raising taxes and spending and creating more programs to treat the symptoms of an economic malaise.
When government grows, private sector jobs shrink because there’s less money for small businesses to create jobs and heal the economy. The longer our economy falters the more big government proponents are assured of job security.
We can’t accept a government that keeps people tethered to programs that just treat and diminish the pain of economic malaise and keeps individuals stuck in the same economic straights. That’s a fiscal death sentence, not a cure.
A doctor takes an oath to do no harm. Our state government has done far too much harm to the Empire State’s economy for far too long. If our state government was a physician, he would have lost his medical license years ago for malpractice because he kept killing the fiscal well-being of taxpayers.
Shifting the thinking of our state government away from its present altered reality will go a long way to reprioritizing the steps that are needed to cure New York’s ailing economy. A part of this cure is championing an educational system that provides real opportunities for people to compete, grow and take part in the work force of the 21st century. Our state government’s role must be as an ombudsman to help remove obstacles so that people can be everything they can be with their God-given talents. But make no mistake, as a compassionate society we must be willing to invest in and help those who have long-term challenges and who truly are incapable of helping themselves.
How do we get this done? The Governor’s New York State Tax Relief Commission recently issued a report that recommended freezing property taxes, fast-tracking the elimination of the 18A energy tax, cutting the estate and job-killing corporate franchise tax and exploring additional property tax relief for middle income homeowners. This is a good start but we’ve seen a lot of talk from commissions before and little real action at the state Capitol.
New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation and the Empire State has the second latest Tax Freedom Day in the United States for when taxpayers pay off all their tax obligations and start pocketing their hard-earned money. One report is not going to change that. The fortitude from our leaders to follow through with the report’s recommendations to cut taxes and continue to reign in spending will.
The taxpayers are sick of commissions and tax relief promises that are never fulfilled. In the New Year, if the governor and legislative leaders are going to talk the talk about tax reform they better walk the walk with results or taxpayers will make them walk the plank in the deep waters of the 2014 election with the heavy burden of failing to fulfill the promise of significant tax relief.