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Cuomo's Circuit Breaker Takes Back with One Hand What It Gives With the Other

Cuomo's Circuit Breaker Takes Back with One Hand What It Gives With the Other

Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that the state should provide property tax relief by restoring a more progressive structure of state taxation and revenue sharing with local municipalities. He said the state should also enact a single payer health care plan that would eliminate the counties’ contribution to the Medicaid program as well as the private health insurance bills that local governments and school districts now pay for their employees.

Hawkins urged lawmakers to not extend Cuomo’s 2% property tax cap program, which he said does not relieve the fiscal crises faced by many local governments and school districts across the state.

“I agree with the Governor that public funds to provide property tax relief for renters and property owners should use a circuit breaker approach to reach those who most need relief. Unfortunately, Cuomo’s tax cap combined with unnamed cuts to state spending to create the surplus needed to pay for the circuit breaker means that what he gives with one hand in a circuit breaker he takes back with the other hand as cuts to the schools and municipal services these same people use,” said Hawkins.

In order to create the projected state surplus to pay for the circuit breaker, the Cuomo administration's budget projections going forward require unnamed state spending cuts of between $7 billion and $8 billion through 2018, according to analyses by both the liberal Fiscal Policy Institute and the conservative Empire Center.

Hawkins has urged the state to restore the system of revenue sharing with local governments that was initiated in the 1970s, where 8% of the state’s revenue was to be shared with local governments in order to pay for state mandates and compensate for the uneven distribution of taxable property across local government jurisdictions. Hawkins also would allow cities to institute an income tax, which is more progressive and would require out-of-city workers to help pay for municipal services they use on a daily basis when they go to work.

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