Anyone who knows me is aware that I have very negative feelings towards our current Governor. In fact he is, without question, the worst governor in office since I’ve lived in the state of New York (since 1982). Of course there haven’t been many in that time and as NY has had some long standing governors in office over the years. He has declared war on the working class in New York under the guise of helping the state to recover from its enormous deficit. While he apparently blames the states reliance on taxation of Wall Street for setting up this massive failure in the system, his solution seems to be to tax the hell out of those people already under the greatest burdens – the working middle class.
The majority of his tax proposals would put the burden squarely on those families who are already facing tough times doing to the poor overall state of the economy. Removing tax caps on gasoline, removing the tax restrictions on clothing, charging tax on items before applying coupn discounts – all these things are going to hit hard on working and low income families. Patterson and his upper crust cronies aren’t going to feel the pinch. When is the last time any of them clipped a coupon? Those tiny savings add up over the course of the year, especially to people of limited financial means. The removing of tax caps on gasoline, while trying to pass it off as helping the enviroment and lessening our reliance on oil, hurts a lot of Upstate families who live a significant distance from where they work. Small towns don’t have access to reliable transportation, and while living in a more disperesed community even things like ride sharing aren’t feasible. Creeping taxes on gasoline will take larger bites out of a paycheck that is already spread thin.
I also wanted to focus on the proposed tax increases on some things that I would agree fall more towards the catagory of luxury items. One of Patterson’s tax proposals is an 18% tax on beer, wine, and cigars. There is certainly no arguing that these are necessary items for the day-to-day survival of anyone. While a higher tax on such items is unlikely to change the purchasing habit of more afluent citizens, it will reduce the middle income brackets abilities to enjoy such small luxuries. Life is not about merely getting by with the bare neccesities from day to day. A workforce made up of drones will at some point break with devastating results, history has shown this. It’s these little luxury items, the types of things which help people to relax, enjoy themselves, and maybe on the rare occassion feel like they are part of a higher class bracket than they actually are is necessary for the mental well being of a populace. While some may bring arguements of binge drinking and other drunken antics to the table, I would argue that these are the minority, and much like people who smoke higher taxes won’t curb their habits. What it will do is once again force the every day working person to make tougher choices, have fewer luxuries in life, and spend more time merely existing rather than striving. It may seem like a small thing, but the small pleasure that bring us joy also bring us hope and a belief that in this country it is still possible to make a better life for yourself. We can also look at this from a business perspective, especially wine in a state like New York. While internationally New York wines may still lack that level of “credibility” attributed to the California wines, it is still a thriving industry that brings a large amount of tourism dollars to the local economy. This tax will hurt their bottom line, forcing them to seek alternative additional revenue streams, or even raising the price on their product. This can hurt both tourism as well as local business. Things that hurt small local business hurt the populace as well, and reduce the overall taxable base. These types of taxes are short-sighted, much like putting a band-aid on a severed artery. This burden will not be as high on the large box stores which can distribute increased costs across all their products, thus only having nominal price increases per item, as opposed to smaller stores where it hits hard at their bottom line. Alienating local business, and making it hard for them to continue operating is not going to help New York long term economic and deficiet issues.
Finally the so-called “obsiety tax”, taxation on non-diet beverages, is at best assinine. First and foremost I don’t believe it is the governments job to regulate whether someone choses to be healthy or not(while I do understand the arguements that this translates in to additional costs in our already burdened health system, I still find it hard to swallow that any such tax is designed with that in mind, rather its used a “sugar” coating to help people swallow yet another tax aimed at the middle class). Secondly, even ignoring my first arguement, I would seriously argue against that soda is the primary cause of obsiety issues today. Why not tax chips, fried foods, donuts, or any number of food as well. If your only concern is the health and welfare of the populace why single out one small part of the problem? There aren’t more sweeping taxes on such issues as it would become even harder to justify those and garner support for his 2010 election hopes. He’s trying to push the line to get what money he can without being seen as a tyrant. It’s only sad that he is so blind that he doesn’t realize he crossed that line 20 tax proposals ago. The third part of my arguement is that if he truly is proposing this as an “obsiety tax” why does he want to tax health club memberships as well? A little ironic, tax them for getting fat, tax them for trying to get thin. Ignore the rhetoric, this man wants to squeeze the tax base dry.
These short-sighted measures, if passed, are going to hurt New York in the long run. Higher taxes are going to cause more of the population to move out of state, which over the last several years has already been a difficult problem for New York. A smaller, work force, being burdened by higher taxes is only going to create worsening economic divides and lead to a state in critical condition – one that would not survive without outside assistance. Yes, the massive deficiet New York is facing does need to be addressed, but a financial war on the working families is not the way to achieve it. I am faithful that the other elected officials of the state are smarter than the govenor gives them credit for, and that they will not stand in line to destroy New York families. For anyone living in New York I urge you to conact your local state representitives and tell them emphatically to oppose our govenor and support measures to encourage new jobs to move to New York as well as helping exisiting small business to not only stay afloat, but to thrive. We can’t allow this state’s highest office to break the back of the working class.