Posted: March 27, 2018 in In the News, Taxes

Voices opposition to potential $1 billion tax increases in governor’s proposed budget

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) voices concerns over proposed tax increases in this year’s state budget at a Reclaim New York Initiative press conference in Albany on Tuesday, March 27.


(Albany, NY) — Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) joined the Reclaim New York Initiative in calling for the removal of $1 billion of proposed tax and fee increases from the 2018 state budget at a press conference in Albany on Tuesday, March 27. In spoken remarks, Byrne cited this type of aggressive taxation as a major reason why residents and businesses continue to flee New York, and urged leadership to practice fiscal responsibility and curb spending in an effort to get the state back on track.

 rally featured remarks from several elected officials, as well as representatives of Reclaim New York, echoing statewide calls for tax relief for New York’s overburdened working-class families. In addition to Byrne, speakers for the event included Reclaim New York Executive Director Brandon Muir, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua) and Sen. Fred Akshar. Over 25 concerned citizens holding signs featuring statements such as “no new taxes,” and “New Yorkers lose again,” provided a striking backdrop for the proceedings.


Current budget proposals contain an estimated $1 billion in tax and fee increases, including expansion of internet sales taxes, MTA property tax, a new ridesharing tax, income tax hikes and taxes on opioids.


“It’s no secret that New York is in the midst of an affordability crisis, and addressing this issue starts with providing meaningful tax relief for our state’s families,” said Byrne. “Continuously piling new fees and taxes on an already overburdened working class will only further New York’s reputation as one of our nation’s most taxed and least business friendly states, and will do nothing to establish our state as an attractive place to live and work.”


Byrne’s concerns are validated by recent census estimates released by the Empire Center. Data shows that 42 of 50 upstate counties have lost population since the last decennial census as residents and businesses alike leave New York in search of a more affordable place to live and work.


Negotiations over the contents of this year’s New York State Budget are ongoing.


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.

Read more on ReclaimNY’s press release HERE