William Colton On Tax Reform

The following is a statement from the office of Assemblyman William Colton:

“THIS SHOULD BE THE START OF A BROADER AND SUSTAINED EFFORT TO ADDRESS THE PRESSING NEEDS OF NEW YORK’S MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES…”

“MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES CANNOT AFFORD TO BE IGNORED ANY LONGER AND AMERICA’S ECONOMY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM…”

                                                                                                          -ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON

“As an elected official who represents thousands of middle class families in New York and understands fully well their daily struggles, I am proud to have voted for legislation that will lower their tax burden. Cutting taxes for middle-income earners translates into more of their hard earned money returning to their pockets and it allows them to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families. I am also pleased that this legislation lifts the tax burden off of parochial schools to fund MTA needs. As the MTA does need resources to address transportation costs, we cannot allow schoolchildren and their parents to further foot the bill. For helping make this tax cut a reality, I must offer praise to Governor Andrew Cuomo for demonstrating an effective brand of leadership that has been absent in Albany for a very long time.

However, I must emphatically stress to the governor and my colleagues in government, that this tax cut legislation should be the start of a broader and sustained effort to address the pressing needs of New York’s middle class families. Governmental policies all too often ignore middle class families, who make up the lifeblood of our economy. Either they make too much money to be eligible for certain types of financial assistance or they lack the assets to receive the huge tax breaks that the rich in this country enjoys. But, we in government must remember that the existence and preservation of a middle class are what separate America from third world countries! Middle class families cannot afford to be ignored any longer and America’s economy cannot survive without them.

That is why we must put this tax cut legislation into a wider perspective. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are still out of work. Too many working families in this state have seen their wages flat line or lowered. The cost of living, of housing, of food, of health care, of energy, of higher education, of transportation, and of basic necessities all keeps going up.  Too many people cannot afford to retire, cannot afford to go or stay in college, and many college graduates cannot find work. These painful realities are screaming and demanding for more bold action from Albany and a trace of life from do-nothing Washington D.C..

Building on our determination to pass these vital tax cuts, we must continue to make strategic decisions that reflect the needs of our people like passing tax cuts for working families that need them the most.

Here is what I believe we in New York’s government must also do…

-Support and fund a world-class education system, from Pre-K to college, which will produce a skilled and qualified labor force.  If we are to increase mandates and accountability for our schools, then we must not play politics with their funding and help them succeed because together with parents, the future is literally in their hands.

-Make higher education more affordable. It is inexcusable to make college aged adults and their families pay for the mismanagement of tax dollars by their government. That is why I voted against increasing college tuition for SUNY and CUNY colleges.  If the state had it’s spending priorities in order, then CUNY and SUNY would not have been in the bad financial shape that they are in today.

-Reward responsible and law-abiding companies and businesses that invest in New York with tax incentives and expose those that shift the tax burden further onto the backs of middle class families. It is unacceptable and outright criminal that a company like Lehman Brothers, Inc. which crashed in 2008, was allowed to get away with racking up a tax bill of over $1.2 billion and handing it over to New York taxpayers to pay. There are estimates out there of over $14.2 to $47 billion, or more, in uncollected tax revenue that New York has failed to collect. When wealthy and powerful companies, like Lehman Brothers, Inc. was, do not pay their taxes, they force those who do to pay more. I will go on record stating that if everyone and every company in New York paid what they are supposed to pay in taxes, like most hard working people do, then we would not be in as worse financial shape than we are in today. We spend too much time harassing someone who may owe $100 in back taxes, but seem to completely ignore the fact that some companies have avoided paying billions in taxes to the state. There must be a sense of urgency on this issue as the state considers further painful cuts to vital services.

-We must develop and implement a mantra of “Invest in NY.” We must wisely use revenue to invest in vital infrastructure projects throughout the state to better serve the needs of people and businesses. That is a win-win situation by putting New Yorkers to work at the same time addressing vital infrastructure needs in the state. We must set aside money to make transportation a priority in NY. I have supported legislation that would block the governor and legislature from raiding MTA funds to address budget deficits. As there is no question that the MTA needs to stop wasting precious resources on wasteful contracts, NY needs to do a better job of prioritizing transportation funding.

-We must cut wasteful spending that does nothing to further the economic agenda of the state. NY doles out too many wasteful consultant contracts to the sum of hundreds of millions of dollars for work that is already or should be already done by state employees. We are paying too high a price for redundant and useless consulting work. And elected officials, who are the stewards of taxpayer money, must remember that they were sent to work to do the peoples’ business, not to further their own business. We must stop throwing money around to special interests that does nothing to further the good and welfare of our state.

In summation, I believe New York is starting to head in the right direction by paying attention to the needs of our hard working families. However, we have much more work to do. And we have over 19 million reasons to get it done.”

Assemblyman William Colton represents Assembly District 47, which includes Bensonhurst, as well as parts of Gravesend and Midwood

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