Reclaim New York Initiative, Assembly Minority Leader Kolb, Senator Akshar, Assemblyman Byrne, Citizens, Call on Albany to Remove Tax & Fee Hikes during Budget Negotiations

(Albany, NY) — In the heart of the State Capitol today, Reclaim New York Initiative hosted a press conference along with New Yorkers from across the state to urge lawmakers to reject proposed tax and fee increases totaling an estimated $1 billion. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, Senator Fred Akshar, and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne participated.

“Enough is enough. Stop the waste, and stop the tax hikes,” said Reclaim New York Initiative Executive Director Brandon Muir. “The Governor has proposed $1 billion in taxes and fees, the Assembly majority wants even higher income taxes, this has to stop.”

Muir added, “Albany has to ask a simple question: does this make New York more affordable? If the answer is no, don’t do it.”

Citizens from the Southern Tier, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Central and Northern New York rallied and visited legislative offices.

Assembly Minority Leader Kolb said, “The Governor is trying to pinpoint blame on Washington, D.C. and it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re 50th in tax burden, 47th in property taxes, 2nd worst in debt, 49th in economic climate, and most recently we’re the worst place to retire. That’s not politics, those are facts.”

Senator Fred Akshar said, “New York doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.”

“The executive budget proposed $1 billion in taxes. We said no. We’re saying no today,” said Akshar. “It’s government’s role to put forth good policy so that people and business can create jobs on their own.”

Assemblyman Byrne said, “It starts by providing some real tax relief, and stop adding tax after tax after tax. You can’t lead this nation by being most taxed, most indebted.”

Brandon Muir stated, “It is a slap in the face to New Yorkers tired of the high costs and corruption that more economic development spending is on the table, and commonsense transparency and oversight is not. This is a disgrace. It tells you everything you need to know about Albany’s broken priorities.”

Reclaim New York Initiative’s “Stop the Tax Bomb” campaign activated citizens across the state in opposition to tax and fee hikes in the budget.

Reclaim’s stance on proposed tax and fee hikes:

Internet sales tax expansion –  This proposal would make online shopping more expensive and make life in our state more expensive. It invades privacy by having the state tax department store your name and the cost of your purchase. It breaks down constitutional taxpayer protections to collect taxes across state borders. It’s no wonder these kinds of taxes are unpopular with 65 percent of likely 2018 voters opposing them.

MTA property tax – The MTA needs investigation, reform, and transparency to get high costs under control, and ensure priorities change. They don’t need more money, and they definitely should not get huge new taxing powers. New York City already provides money to the MTA through value capture without the state overstepping. The MTA should stop threats like holding the 2nd Ave. subway hostage.

New ridesharing tax – Albany already put a tax on ridesharing last year, but apparently the Assembly found a new excuse to grab more revenue and hit taxis too. It’s not clear these services add to congestion, and this tax is just about adding more money to Albany’s wallet.

Broadband right of way fee – A near $200-million fee for highway right of way for broadband companies makes no sense when the state is spending millions – sometimes thousands per house – to expand broadband. This slows their own expansion and makes it cost more.

New Fidelis/Metroplus revenue scheme – This is desperate and reckless. Forcing these insurers to give up extra reserve funds is Albany putting itself before the people insured by these companies. As Empire Center points out, Health Republic just collapsed without having enough reserves and left unpaid claims.

Income tax hikes – The Assembly majority income tax increases go 180 degrees against their claims to care about New Yorkers who lost state and local deductions. These new tax brackets would only drive more high-earners out.

Health insurer tax – A tax on health insurers that would drive up premiums for everyone, when New Yorkers already pay the second-highest premiums on average, shows how far the Governor’s budget goes to grab money.

Opioid tax – The opioid tax is sick policy. This cynical proposal would not only drive up health insurance costs for every New Yorker, but most of the money would not go to opioid programs, and it could drive patients to use cheaper illegal options.