WFP, Local Officials Applaud Albany Action On Tax Deal
Utica, NY (WIBX) - Local officials gathered at the State Office Building in downtown Utica this morning, in support of the tax reform deal reached by top lawmakers in Albany. Holly Clements, Regional Organizer with the Oneida County Working Families Party says the deal is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough to address the institutional unfairness with the state's current tax system.
Clements said, "It's not quite there and so for that reason, Working Families Party, our affilliates, members and our supporters, assume the Occupy Movement, all of us together are going to continue the fight. I think this is very much a small victory in one battle and that there's still a lot of work to be done to move us closer to economic equality in New York State, particularly around the budget in April."
WFP members and other local officials at the event agree that the deal doesn't fully address the $3.5 billion dollar budget deficit the state is facing next year. Clements said the deal is expected to raise between $1.9 and $2.6 billion dollars in additional revenue and reduce taxes for about 4 million New Yorkers. For someone making $40,000 a year, the tax reform deal reached yesterday amounts to about $160 in tax cuts. "It's a really small step in the right direction, but there's still a lot of work to be done and it is still a tax break for high income earners," Clements said. Also, she adds that the deal doesn't quite cover the $5 billion that are going to be lost after the expiration of the so-called Millionaire's Tax. Yesterday, lawmakers also voted to not extend the "Millionaire's Tax" set to expire at the end of the year.
John Furman, Oneida-Herkimer County WFP Leader said, "This important agreement reached in Albany is going to prevent property tax increases, which hurt senior citizens, folks on fixed incomes and middle class people. By having a fair taxation system on a state-wide level, there will be sufficient funds to fund local programs." He goes on to say that an unfair property tax systems in the state invites issues of disparity, inequality and of services not being provided on an equal basis throughout the state.
"By having a progressive income tax system on a state-wide level and having most of the revenue coming from the state of New York for programs like at MVCC, we ensure that there is equity, fair treatment and sufficient funding for local program resources, particularly in economically depressed communities like Central New York," said Furman. He said what happened yesterday will have serious consequences for people living in the Mohawk Valley. "It's going to mean more money for local governments, money to close budget loopholes and money to continue essential services," Furman said.
Others in attendance at the event include, Joseph Furgal, Oneida County Legislator, 27th District; Ron Testa, Frankfort Highway Superintendent; David Gordon, Oneida County Legislator, 14th District, and Daniel Trevisani, Oneida County Legislator, 19th District.