It’s Monday morning and I’m on my way to Albany to testify at the state Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Taxes. I’m planning to tell the Legislature that new taxes and fees to close the budget gap are simply unacceptable and spending is just too high. I’ll also be armed with $12 billion in suggested cuts that Unshackle believes will have a long-term effect of reducing state spending, to present to the Legislature. I’ll let you know later what kind of reception I got and what YOU can to do to help us reinforce this message.

Each Monday, in this space, I’ll brief you on the week ahead in Albany and what Unshackle Upstate has planned. Each Friday, I’ll report back.

In between, you’ll hear from the leaders of our major chamber of commerce partners as well as members of our Unshackle Army and some other key guests. Unshackle Upstate wants this blog to be another way for us to arm you with information and also to provide a forum for taxpayers as we move toward the all-important November statewide elections.

So here is today’s insight.

As part of the Executive Budget, the Governor has proposed a state Spending Cap (which we support) with a Circuit Breaker tied into it for property taxes (which we don’t support).  Tying these two items together creates an interesting issue for us in that we support half of the plan, but oppose the other half.

As it is proposed now, Unshackle opposes the plan.  Here’s why:

  • The cap is based on an unsustainable spending amount, roughly $134 billion, which includes billions of federal stimulus money
  • The circuit breaker only moves the money around and does not address the root causes of why our property taxes are so high
  • The “refund” is contingent upon the state having a surplus, which we haven’t seen in quite some time
  • The spending cap only lasts until 2014
  • Businesses cannot participate in the circuit breaker

What we need is a spending cap based on realistic spending and a comprehensive plan to fundamentally lower our property taxes by getting at the root causes.  Unshackle Upstate has advanced a plan to do just that.  Now we need our elected officials to take up the plan and move it ahead. Let us know what you think we can do together to make that happen.