Ramos: Governor’s Budget Demonstrates His Misguided Priorities

February 10, 2006

When it comes to padding the pockets of the wealthy and leaving the middle-class and poor behind no one has fought harder than Governor Pataki. The Governor’s rhetoric about his budget benefiting New York’s working families was nothing more than political grandstanding for his presidential audience in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In fact, according to a New York Times analysis of Governor Pataki’s executive budget, 24 percent of his proposed income tax cuts, credits and rebates are actually going to those who earn more than $200,000 a year. To add further insult to injury, more than half of these cuts and rebates go to those who earn more than $100,000 – a measly 10 percent of New York State’s citizens.

Last year the governor committed to eliminating the state sales tax on clothing. But when it came time to deliver, the governor broke his promise and only called for yet another two weeks of tax-free shopping. Is the governor that out of touch that he believes real people arrange to do their shopping only two weeks out of 52? If he really wanted to help working families he would have kept his promise to permanently eliminate the state sales tax on clothing and footwear.

Instead of helping struggling working families, the governor proposed eliminating the state’s portion of the estate tax, applied to those estates worth more than $1 million. His actions beg the question: governor, are you more concerned about your political aspirations than the working families of New York State?

It will be up to the Legislature once again, as it has been in the past, to provide our citizens with a budget that provides working families with the tax relief they need while still investing in our schools and our health care system. As legislators we need to be looking out for all of New York’s citizens, because we know the governor has other priorities.