We keep hearing about how New York is in crisis.
So I find this morning's Buffalo News headline a little shocking: Both spending and taxes soar in state budget.
When you or I find our income greatly reduced, our primary option is to massively cut our own spending. We can only raise more revenue if we can sell our services on the open market for a higher fee. We don't have the option of extorting more money from people, unless we want to risk jail time.
The government, especially New York's government, doesn't work that way. When it find itself facing revenue shortfalls, not only can it force its citizens to pony up more taxes and fees, it can go right ahead and increase spending as well.
Where on the measure of common sense does this fall?
The lead of the News story, with its list of new taxes and fees, along with the total amount raised, is stagger:
The state’s new, inflation-busting budget will require New Yorkers to pay more to go fishing and hunting, drive a car or motorcycle, have life insurance, operate the lights and heat in their homes, buy cigarettes, own a cell phone and drink beer, wine and bottled water.
Single taxpayers making more than $200,000 a year will see a jump in taxes, as will bus companies, nuclear plants, food processing companies, racehorse owners, farmers, pesticide applicators, grocery stores and anyone wanting to open a hospice.
In all, the total number of new taxes, fees and various assessments and surcharges will top $7 billion in the new budget that state lawmakers will vote on beginning Tuesday. The governor’s office put the number at $5.3 billion, but that misses a number of levies.
That's $7 billion that will be sucked out of state's economy. That's $7 billions in lost jobs, lost opportunity and lost economic growth.
The News also reports that items such as the end of the STAR rebate program, will cost taxpayers a total of $10 billion when all is said and done.
Meanwhile, spending is skyrocketing to an astonishing $131.8 billion.
With a $17.7 billion deficit to wrestle—up from $16.2 billion just a week ago — Paterson and lawmakers turned to every possible revenue source to go along with $6.5 billion of assorted cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other programs. Rounding out the money to fill the gap is $6.2 billion in federal stimulus aid.
It's not enough to just close the budget gap, Gov. Paterson and the legislative leadership just can't wait to spend more money. As the D&C reports, the new budget increases spending by 9 percent, or about $10 billion. Again, in tough times, you and I must cut spending, but not the government -- it just raises taxes and fees and takes more money out of your pocket.
And what's with using $6 billion in federal stimulus money to balance this bloated budget? That money should go to things that, you know, supposedly, allegedly will stimulate the economy, such as new infrastructure projects. Or helping small businesses. Not to increasing the size and scope of government.
Fiscal mismanagement like this should be an impeachable offense. Albany is out of control.