Empowering "We the People"

Governor Patterson

For more on Patterson’s record and interest group ratings, go here:

** he’s officially gone insane **

Governor calls for $1 billion in new taxes

POSTED: January 19, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York Gov. David Paterson released a budget proposal Tuesday that seeks a 5 percent cut in school aid, as well as $1 billion in new taxes and fees.

The $134 billion budget also addresses a $7.4 billion deficit. In addition to a $1.1 billion cut in school aid, Paterson wants $1 billion cut from health care spending, much of which goes to hospitals and nursing homes.

The new taxes and fees proposed include:

– A $1 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, raising the state total to $3.75 per pack. That’s expected to raise $218 million the first year.

– A new $7.68 per gallon excise tax on beverage syrups and $1.28 per gallon on bottled soft drinks and powders, raising $465 million.

– A 0.75 percent hospital assessment on inpatient revenue, up from 0.35 percent, raising $130 million.

– A 7 percent nursing home services assessment, up from 6 percent, raising $67.8 million.

– A 9.63 percent surcharge on services performed in hospitals, extending it to surgery and radiology performed in private ambulatory centers, doctors’ offices and urgent care settings, raising $24.6 million.

– A 0.7 percent home care provider revenue assessment, up from 0.35 percent, raising $17.6 million

– A 3 percent tax on natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale formation in the Southern Tier and in central New York using horizontal wells, raising $1 million starting in 2011-2012.

– Ending forbearance on sales of unstamped tobacco products to Indian retailers. No revenue estimate.

See Wednesday’s Post-Journal for details.

Governor watch – in his own words and fast facts

“Local property taxes in New York are too high – 78% higher than the national average!  To reduce the burden on local property taxpayers, we are cracking down on state mandates that impose added costs on local governments and local taxpayers.”  

On working to change the culture of spending in Albany. “We are going to ask government to live under the same conditions as taxpayers do – that we live within our means.”

“We are reviewing state commissions, task forces, cabinets, and advisory councils–nearly 600 of them.”

In July, Governor Paterson vetoed 14 bills passed by the State Legislature, saving the State $5.7 million; in August, he vetoed 14 more bills, saving another $5.4 million. He vetoed these bills because they would have added to the state’s budget deficit, without providing essential services. He said: “This is not the time to add to the State’s spending or to increase the burden on the State’s taxpayers. While these bills address important causes, government has to live within its means – just like regular New Yorkers do every day. That means making difficult choices so we can lay the foundation for our economic recovery.”

Did you know that education and health care represent more than half of all projected spending ($31 billion) in the state’s $55 billion General Fund? The General Fund is the main operating account of the state and has a projected $3.2 billion deficit in the current year. (This deficit figure may be under stated)

Did you know that Wall Street bonuses are still projected to decline by 22 percent in the current fiscal year, despite the fact that some individual firms are reporting strong earnings? Some Wall Street firms have disappeared altogether during the financial crisis and won’t be paying any bonuses at all. Efforts are continuing at the federal level to limit executive compensation. And many bonus payments come in the form of stock that is not immediately taxable. The financial services industry as a whole remains in the midst of a fundamental restructuring, which will continue to depress state tax collections. 

Did you know that, while using the state’s “Rainy Day” reserves to help close our current-year budget deficit may sound like an easy answer, it could have some extremely negative fiscal consequences? First, it may very well lead to a downgrade in the state’s credit rating, which would make it more expensive New York to borrow money for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects, leaving even fewer tax dollars available for other critical priorities. Second, it’s a “one-shot” solution that wouldn’t do anything to address a looming $40 billion structural budget gap projected over the next three years. Third, if we fully exhaust our reserves, we’ll be left with no other options at the end of the fiscal year if the economic downturn is worse than anticipated. All this, for something that would cover little more than one-third of our $3.2 billion current-year deficit. That’s why the Governor’s DRP leaves the state’s Rainy Day reserve fully intact.

Did you know that recommended funding for the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) program of $715 million represents an increase of 54 percent or $249 million compared to 2004-05?  That’s an average annual increase of almost 9 percent in AIM funding for local governments outside New York City.

Did you know that the average New York State recession lasts twice as long as the average national recession? That’s why, even though there are some encouraging signs that the US economy is recovering, state revenues have continued to plummet.

Based on the Division of the Budget’s latest forecast, the current New York State recession will not end until at least the second half of 2010. Accordingly, there should be little optimism that an unexpected rebound in tax collections will remove the need for responsible actions to close our mid-year budget gap. Immediate, further spending reductions are necessary, such as those proposed in Governor Paterson’s Deficit Reduction Plan.

The Division of the Budget released its mid-year financial plan update at the end of October showing that the state must address a structural deficit of $44 billion over the next five years — an increase of $6 billion from the most recent projections in July.

The Governor’s proposed Tier V pension reform — a key component of his DRP — claims it would save taxpayers nearly $50 billion over the next thirty years, while still providing a secure retirement for public employees.

Even after implementation of the DRP, 2009-10 School Aid spending ($21.2 billion) would still represent a $6.8 billion or 47 percent increase compared to 2003-04? Based on US census data, New York spends more total per pupil than any other state and 63 percent above the national average.

New York spends more per capita on Medicaid ($2,283) than any other state and twice the national average. The next highest state (Rhode Island) spends $1,659 per capita – 27 percent less than New York.

As of November 95 percent of school districts have reported undesignated reserves in excess of their proposed DRP reduction. For a district by district breakdown of reported reserves, go to the State Education Department’s property tax report card website at

The Governor says “It’s time to trim the fat in State government”.  He created the Task Force to Eliminate Waste, Fraud and Abuse, to cut unnecessary costs, eliminating wasteful spending, and fight fraud and abuse.



Holding Public Authorities Accountable to Taxpayers

The Governor claims to be restoring the meaning of the word “public” in public authorities, creating the Public Authority Oversight Council, which will hold state public authorities more accountable to the taxpayers who fund their operations. The Council will start by looking at the pay and expenses of executive staff: Are they making too much?; Are they spending too much?: Are they receiving excessive benefits and perks?

Last year, for example, he discovered that state public authorities were only submitting required reports 70% of the time; these reports are critical to government transparency because they allow taxpayers and elected officials to monitor public authority spending. So the Governor stepped in and demanded greater compliance. The results? Reporting among state public authorities increased from 70% to 90%.


The State is tightening its belt, too. And just like New York taxpayers and businesses, no saving is too small.

The Governor has directed state agencies to cut costs – both large and small – and reduce spending wherever possible.

Cutting Printing, Copying and Wireless Costs. Saves low Millions.

Cutting State Travel Costs by ordering all state agencies to cut travel by 25%. Saves low millions.

Cutting State Lease and Rent Costs. Saved $8 million in 2009-2010

Governor Paterson Directs the Sale and under-utilized and Vacant State Property. Sales scheduled for 2009 will generate millions of dollars for the state.

Cutting Conference Costs

Maximizing the State’s Assets

The State owns certain assets that have the potential to create revenues. These include – transportation infrastructure, buildings, land, schools, cars, trucks, energy facilities, schools, and many more. And just like a private business, the state must manage these assets effectively – simply put, to maximize the return on the investment. These are public assets, purchased with taxpayer dollars – and they should be used to benefit you, the taxpayer.

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