Spending (Executive Budget)
MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION
Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan coalition of more than 70 business and trade organizations representing a growing group of more than 70,000 companies and employing upwards of 1.5 million people, opposes aspects to the Executive Budget that will result in increased spending from previous years. Specifically, the 2010-11 Executive Budget totals $134 billion, a spending increase of $787 million from the prior year and a 12-percent increase over the 2008-09 state budget.
In January, when the Executive Budget was released, it was aimed at closing a projected $7.4 billion deficit, which has now ballooned to be between an estimated $8.5 billion and $9 billion due to declining revenues. Unshackle Upstate is determined to end this trend and has proposed ways to actually reduce spending in the 2010-11 budget, which will align our state spending to a more sustainable level.
In order for New York to maintain its constantly increasing spending levels year after year, the state has turned toward raising the tax burden on the people of this state. Since last February, we have been forced to endure two Deficit Reduction Plans and the Enacted State Budget, which added additional burdens on New Yorkers in the form of increased health insurance costs; increased SUNY tuition; surcharges on gas and electric utility companies that will end up costing consumers more; higher sport fishing and hunting licensing fees; and increased DMV fees and fines. However, the most offensive tax action last year was the three-year personal income tax surcharge guised as a “Millionaires Fair Share Tax” that, in reality, affects individuals and small businesses whose annual income is far less than $1 million.
Members of Unshackle Upstate were led to believe that passing these increases would remedy the state and bring it to fiscal solvency – this has not worked and recently the governor stated that income taxes fell 36 percent, meaning our revenues in this area fell more in 2009 than they did in 2008.
Due to this quagmire, Unshackle Upstate has offered a remedy that will result in lower spending levels and therefore less of a tax burden for our citizens. Our organization has outlined a plan that would right-size the state budget by the year 2015. We recommend the state budget return to the level it was in 2000 – $77.5 billion and then be adjusted according to the consumer price index to reach no more than $109 billion by 2015. To achieve this goal, Unshackle Upstate proposes that this year’s budget be reduced by nearly $12 billion (see attached). Then the budget should decrease by at least $2 billion per year to meet the 2015 goal.
While supporters of this budget point to the fact that it includes only minimal spending increases from the prior year, Unshackle Upstate firmly believes that New York State’s leaders must begin to take steps
toward reducing the state’s spending patterns. As a result, Unshackle Upstate opposes any state budget that does not represent a decrease in state spending.