Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new budget plan includes a record $227 billion in spending, plus at least $1.6 billion in tax hikes. The left wants a lot more, but that hardly makes her a fiscal conservative.
She’d increase taxes on payrolls in the 12-county “MTA region” by $810 million and extend a corporate surtax for three years to raise another $800 million a year.
The plan also boosts the state cigarette tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. (Get set for even more smuggling; this’ll be by far the highest butt-tax in the nation.)
Even if she has no other hikes in there, she’s already far past the “no new taxes” line.
Meanwhile, outlays for schools soar, despite declining enrollment. Medicaid gets a huge bump, too.
We’re all for some small bits of her spending hikes — support for district attorneys and mental-health inpatient beds, for example. But goosing state-funded spending by roughly $7 billion a year, when New York is already staring at a fiscal crisis before her next election, is hardly frugal.
Yes, she’s nixing left-wing demands for vastly more in taxes on the rich and corporations. But the Legislature’s sure to take her budget as just the floor for negotiations. And it’s hard to see what principled objection she’ll make, other than to note that, e.g., the top 1% of taxpayers already cover 40% of the state’s personal-income-tax takes and are the residents most able to skip off to Florida, Texas, North Carolina and so on.
Progressives are eager to kill the Empire State’s golden goose and feast on the corpse. It sure would’ve been nice if Hochul’s opening offer was to bleed the poor bird a little less.