December 11, 2013
By Mario Cilento, New York State AFL-CIO President
Albany, NY – The Pataki/McCall Commission appears to be a missed opportunity. Its out-of-touch recommendations would throw hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue out the window to fund corporate tax breaks and lessen the tax burden of millionaires, seemingly without any consideration for the potential impact on jobs and services. Those are clearly not the priorities of New Yorkers who are working harder and harder, but falling further and further behind.
Even when the Commission started addressing real issues like property tax relief for working families, it veered off the road of smart policy. New Yorkers want the state to invest in them and the services they rely on, yet the Commission’s recommendation ties a property tax freeze to cuts in services, which will only cause more job losses and pain. It is a Trojan horse that will hurt working people in the long run.
Corporations and the wealthy have controlled the debate for too long, and this report only continues that unfortunate dynamic. We must remember that the state and its local governments already give away $7 billion in corporate tax breaks each year. Based on these recommendations, that apparently is not enough.
Fortunately, these are only recommendations; we hope reason will ultimately prevail over tax breaks for those who need them least, and the focus will return to creating good, long-term jobs, investing in quality services, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and bringing accountability and standards to programs like IDAs. That’s how we make New York work for hardworking New Yorkers.