Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tedisco: Governor's Speech Struck A Conciliatory Tone, But Overtaxed New Yorkers Can't Afford $5.6 Billion In New Government Spending
Says while the Governor's speech hit many positive themes, its estimated $5.6 billion-dollar price tag is just too high

Characterizing Governor Eliot Spitzer's second State of the State Address as being a conciliatory speech that struck a welcome tone of humility, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) asked if New Yorkers could really afford the speech's estimated $5.6 billion-dollar price tag.

"Former Governor Mario Cuomo was fond of saying that 'you campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.' Today we heard some lofty rhetoric, but we don't need more words - we need a healthy dose of reality: overtaxed, overregulated, overburdened New Yorkers can't afford the billions in new government spending the Governor outlined in his speech today," Tedisco said.

"The Governor was correct in saying 'economic storm clouds are gathering' - they are. It's a 'perfect storm' of high taxes, gas prices and tolls that threatens to swamp New Yorkers who are already working harder and longer, just to keep their heads above water," Tedisco said.

"While I commend the Governor for admitting that property taxes are at a crisis level in New York State, I believe he should have gone further than just calling for a commission on enacting a property tax cap. Quite frankly, I don't think I've seen a punting unit called out that quickly since Super Bowl XXV," Tedisco stated.

"Because the need for a property tax cap is such an important issue, I think the Governor should have offered more details, more substance on what unfunded mandates he would have the Commission examine. I thought that warranted more discussion," Tedisco said.

"With all due respect to the Governor, I believe this issue has already been 'commissioned to death.' We already know what the problem is - a crippling, crushing property tax burden that hurts most those who can afford it the least. We can't allow a property tax cap to become bogged down in a commission. New Yorkers, literally, can't afford to wait any longer," Tedisco said.

"I also think it's important that, going forward, the Governor joins our Conference in recognizing that whether it's called a 'revenue enhancer,' 'loophole closure,' fee, surcharge or toll, anytime government reaches into the taxpayers' pockets to take more of their hard-earned money, where I come from, that's called a tax increase. When the Governor said in his speech today that he's held the line on taxes and even cut them, I think he might have forgotten about last year's approximate $661 million in so-called 'loophole closures' - which are, in fact, tax increases. Under that scrutiny, the Governor's claim doesn't hold much water," Tedisco said.

"Some of the items that the Governor called for - such as a SUNY/CUNY tuition credit for returning veterans and an expansion of the state's DNA Databank - are initiatives our Conference has advocated for, so we welcome the Governor to the effort. Throughout this session, where we can find common ground, we will work with this Governor. Where we disagree, we will say so in the hope that a positive dialog will bring us closer to solutions, closer to a better quality of life for all New Yorkers," Tedisco concluded.

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