The Unshackle Upstate business coalition warned that any increase in taxes, fees, mandates or assessments, or any increase in spending is absolutely unacceptable and a slap in the face to every New York taxpayer and employer.
“The 2010-11 State Budget must be realistic and in line with state revenues,” said Brian Sampson, the coalition’s Executive Director. “Following a year that included unprecedented hikes in taxes and fees, Unshackle Upstate opposes the passage of any budget that continues to have bloated and unsustainable levels of spending. Even spending increases below the rate of inflation are unaffordable for NYS and thus are unacceptable.”
As documented by the Empire Center for New York State Policy in its report titled, “Blueprint for a Better Budget,” New York State’s spending is consistently higher than other state governments. According to the report, if New York had budgeted at the national per-capita average in 2008, it would have spent nearly $32 billion less.
Unshackle Upstate calls today for a rightsizing of the state budget. As the Blueprint states, “New York would be spending $21 Billion less if its budget growth over the past decade had tracked inflation.” There are many reasons, but no excuses for this. Unshackle Upstate calls on New York’s leaders to put us on the road to fiscal repair.
The coalition, which advocates for reductions in state and local taxes; state debt; mandates, fees and assessments, is recommending that the state budget return to the level it was in 2000 – $77.5 billion. The budget should then be adjusted according to the consumer price index to reach no more than $109 billion by 2015. To achieve that goal, Unshackle Upstate proposes that this year’s budget be reduced by nearly $12 billion. Then the budget should decrease by at least $2 billion per year to meet the 2015 goal (see graph below).
The coalition has offered – and will continue to offer – solutions to the state’s fiscal problems, including current-year proposals that would provide for $12 billion in state savings. The coalition understands that this cannot occur overnight, and cannot occur without some shared pain. However, lawmakers and the governor must respect the rights of New York’s largest special interest group: taxpayers.
In general, Unshackle Upstate supports:
This must be the year that the governor and Legislature make the tough choices needed to right the financial woes of the state. Anything less is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Unshackle Upstate is a bi-partisan coalition representing more than 45,000 employers with more than one million workers in every region of upstate. The coalition’s website, here, allows citizens to join the Unshackle Army and send messages to elected officials in Albany.