Paterson To Rob New Yorkers Blind
See what I did there? It's a pun. At his expense. It's okay - he's a good sport about these things.
Plus, he's earned a bit of rebuke with this one.
Trying to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, Paterson called for 88 new fees and a host of other taxes, including an "iPod tax" that taxes the sale of downloaded music and other "digitally delivered entertainment services."
"We're going to have to take some extreme measures," Paterson said Tuesday after unveiling the slash-and-burn budget.
The proposal, which needs legislative approval, did not include broad-based income tax increases, but relied on smaller ones to raise $4.1 billion from cash-strapped New Yorkers.
Movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages would be taxed under Paterson's proposal. It also extends sales taxes to cable and satellite TV services and removes the tax exemption for clothes costing less than $110.
Paterson managed to peeve folks on both sides of the aisle with this move - Republicans because it serves to further bloat the hideously bloated state government, and Democrats because sales and usage taxes tend to be less "progressive" (read: fairer) than steeply graduated income taxes.
Assembly Speaker [Democrat] Sheldon Silver, who supports a so-called millionaire tax, has said he'd "rather have a broad-based tax than nickel-and-dime" people.
Republican lawmakers expressed concern with the tax and fee increases.
"Instead of raising taxes, we need to be reducing them," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-Schenectady).
Rather than slashing the budget during such tight times (or even holding the line), Paterson has managed only to slow the rate of growth.
Paterson's 2009-10 budget proposal represents only a 1% increase in total spending from this year's budget - the smallest increase in a dozen years.
As bad as all this is, I do have to credit Paterson with a comprehension of the behavioral impact of "progressive" taxation that tends to elude most others in his party.
Paterson did not rule out income tax increases but said spending reductions are the priority. He also defended the fee and sales tax increases, saying they would be less harmful to the state's economy.
"If you start taxing at times when [revenues are] receding, you'll drive job creators out of the state," Paterson said.
Update: Jammie Wearing Fool makes an apt cinematic comparison.
Handcrafted by Flip on December 16, 2008 |
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