Thingish Things

Golden Goose Season in NY

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 27•11

New York government — at least its powerful union-Left — won’t be satisfied until it chases every last wealthy family out of the state. And then it will blame them for leaving.

Here’s New York’s latest scheme. A program called STAR was created 10 or so years ago because school and property taxes had risen too high. Families couldn’t take it anymore and began leaving the state. So instead of reducing spending — the cause — and lowering taxes to reasonable levels, legislators came up with STAR, a refund program where New York homeowners would continue to be taxed at ridiculous levels, but would  get some of their own money back in a state-issued check every October, just in time for Election Day. Money New Yorkers had earned was meant to be seen as a windfall gift from their local legislators in Albany. STAR didn’t keep hundreds of thousands of families from leaving the state, but it got a lot of incumbents re-elected.

Then came massive deficits caused by years of mad blind spending, so most of the STAR program was suspended. But about 2.4 million New Yorkers remained eligible for one form of it. At least they used to be. Now, legislators are routing out of that program families making more than $500,000 per year. They will receive no refund on their money under a new law, i.e., they will see a tax increase.

That may sound reasonable in a fiscal emergency — $500,000 in income is a lot — but this threshold measure is part of a larger and more pernicious plan schemed up by New York’s union-Left. Or as Frank Mauro, executive director of the official sounding but union-created Fiscal Policy Institute, put it in the Ithaca Journal today, “This is reform at the edges.” The real plan is to make New York property taxes based on income rather than the value of one’s property. In other words, the unions want to swap out property and school taxes for a second income tax system in the state. They call this a “circuit breaker.”  It could just as well be called the “short-circuit,” because that’s what it will do to New York’s economy.

This thinking is axiomatic among New York’s left. Let the “rich” pay for it; let ’em pay for everything. That way we can keep spending and spending and the majority of people will still vote for us. We can have largess without limits in perpetuity.

Tell that to the “hedge fund millionaire’s” living in Greenwich.


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