The Stock Transfer Tax Petition for New York State

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Sign on to this petition if you agree with the massive Better Choice Budget Coalition that at least a small stock transfer tax should be re-implemented on the destructive speculation on Wall Street-- to stop local property taxes from rising any more than they have already-- and stop the cruel and unnecessary state budget cuts proposed to just about everything in our communities locally and across the state.

A stock transfer tax is a better choice than decimating state funding for our schools, parks, libraries, universities, hospitals, nursing homes, home care programs, counties, towns, villages, universities, domestic violence services, housing, legal services, homeless, runaways, and other programs for our poor, Environmental Protection Fund, DEC staffing, and many other crucial programs-- taking $7.4 billion dollars out of our state's economy during a recession will only make the current economic situation worse, not better.

These members of the Better Choice Budget coalition all strongly support re-implementation of a stock transfer tax on Wall Street-- Dutchess Outreach, NYS Library Association, NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NY Statewide Senior Action Council, NYS Alliance for Retired Americans, Interfaith Alliance of NYS, Interfaith Impact of NYS, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Citizen Action, NY Children's Action Network, NY Jobs with Justice, NYS AFL-CIO, CSEA, PEF, NYSUT, AFSCME, NYS Community Action Association, NYS Episcopal Public Policy Network, NYS Child Care Coordinating Council, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Public Utility Law Project, Center for Working Families, Class Size Matters, Coalition for After-School Funding, Fiscal Policy Institute, Hunger Action Network of NYS, many more-- see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org.

Thanks to all who came out to our rally on this Feb. 12th in front of the Dutchess County Office Building:
[recall-- http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2010/February/13/BetterChoice_ral1-13Feb10.htm ]

-- County Legislators Jim Doxsey & Dan Kuffner
-- Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation's Sue Delgiorno, Beth Soto, Matt Stoddard, and Ron Diaz
-- Dutchess County CSEA's Shaun Chesley (along with many other county employees)
-- Grace Smith House Executive Director Judy Lombardi
-- NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Michele McKeon
-- Dutchess Outreach Executive Director Brian Riddell and staffer Raluca Besliu
-- Public Employees Federation's Ken Cousin
-- Holy Light Pentecostal Church's Elder Ann Perry
[...and dozens of other folks who attended whose names we weren't able to record...]

Fact: A stock transfer tax on Wall Street has been in existence since 1915, but hasn't been collected since 1981; now every year literally $16 billion in stock transfer taxes (at a nickel a share) is collected from- and given back to-- the same speculators on Wall Street who destroyed our economy.

Fact: A statewide poll commissioned by the NYS AFL-CIO in 2003 showed that by 63\% to 24\%, New York voters strongly favored re-instituting at least a partial stock transfer tax of one or two cents per share on stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (as in Texas and Florida).
[see http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2010/01/stock-transfer-tax-has-3-to-1-support.html ]

Fact: Crain's New York reported Mar. 28th that New York Stock Exchange firms made "an astonishing $61 billion-triple the previous record-- more pretax profits in last year's second quarter than they made in the former record-busting year of 2006. There's a good reason Wall Street didn't trumpet its stunning comeback: Nearly all of the earnings were due to enormous government subsidies. 'A disproportionate amount of government assistance went to New York banks,' says economist Marisa Di Natale of Moody's Economy.com. 'This is the result.'"
[see: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100328/FREE/303289966 ]

Fact: "Flush with record profits in 2009, investment banks and securities firms paid employees in New York City an estimated $20.3 billion in annual bonuses, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York State Comptroller. That was up from $17.4 billion for 2008."
[see: "Wall Street '09 Bonuses Increase 17\%" by Graham Bowley (NY Times 2/23/10)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/business/24bonus.html ]

"Like New Jersey, California and almost every other state, New York faces a devastating budget deficit this year - a shortfall estimated at $9 billion and growing. Mr. Paterson proposes drastic cuts - everything from shutting 55 parks and historic sites...to closing senior centers and imperiling other programs...Education will take a substantial hit, no matter what - $1.4 billion in the governor's and the Senate's proposals, half that in the Assembly's."
[from "A Budget for New York's Future" (NYTimes editorial 3/27/10):
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/opinion/27sat2.html ]

It doesn't have to be like this. There's no time to let up-- we can't stop now, folks-- there seems to be no end to huge multi-billion budget deficits projected for NYS for years (if you think things can't get worse just imagine what might happen if we give up now).

On the eve of his triumphant re-election in 1936, Dutchess County's own FDR said this of the "economic royalists" back then-- wealthy special interests who were trying to take him down-- "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hatred for me-- and I welcome their hatred" (where is that type of leadership today?).

It really is true, folks-- the journey of a million miles begins beneath one's feet, and if the people lead, the leaders will follow-- so let us lead by gathering more and more support in the grass roots for this.

Call state legislators now (and every week) on this at (877) 255-9417; for more on stock transfer tax see: http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/stocktransfer.pdf .

Joel Tyner
Dutchess County Legislator, D. #11
County Legislator (Clinton/Rhinebeck)
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
Host of "The Real Majority Project" on WVKR 91.3 FM Fridays 5-6 pm
Host of "Common Sense" on WHVW 950 AM Saturdays 8-10 am
Host of DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

[note-- kudos to NYSUT, CSEA, AFSCME in particular for coming out strong for stock transfer tax; see:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/another-idea-for-cutting-state-aid-for-schools/ ]

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Fact: "There's every reason to believe that this will be the rule from now on; when push comes to shove, no matter who is in power, the financial sector will be bailed out."
[from Paul Krugman's "Punks and Plutocrats" column in NYTimes 3/29/10:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/opinion/29krugman.html ]

Fact: $14 trillion over last few years has been paid out/set aside to bail out Wall Street (not $787 billion).
[according Nomi Prins; see: http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/01/real-size-bailout-treasury-fed ]

Fact: 98\% of small business owners (true engine of job growth in U.S.) make less than $250,000 a year.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/oct/16/barack-obama/most-small-businesses-wont-be-subject-to-obamas-ta/ ; http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf ]

Fact: 70\% of our economy is driven by consumer demand; recession ends when middle class has $$$.
[see: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/13/pm_retail_sales/ ]

Fact: Millionaires in NYS now pay only 9\% of their income in state/local taxes; middle class pays 11\%.
[see: http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/ny_whopays_factsheet.pdf ]

Fact: Millionaires used to pay 15.5\% NYS income tax rate in early 70's; they now pay less than 9\% rate.
[see: http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/taxhistory2.htm ]

Fact: The richest 5\% of Americans now own 60\% of all wealth; other 95\% of us own 40\% of the wealth.
[ http://hudson-valley.chronogram.com/issue/2009/11/News+&+Politics/Larry-Beinhart-s-Body-Politic ]

Fact: Millionaires paid 91\% federal income tax rate in 50's; they now pay 35\% federal income tax rate.
[see: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ILikeIke ]

Fact: "Bank of America, Wells Fargo Probably Won't Pay Income Tax for '09" by Christina Rexrode:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/27-4 .

And-- read these eight strong pieces on the need for a stock transfer tax again if you haven't yet:

"Financial Transactions Tax: A Little Tax on the Big Casino" by Tanya Dawkins [Yes magazine 3/10/10]
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/10-4

"Time To Tax Financial Speculation" by Sarah Anderson [Yes magazine 2/9/10]
http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-to-tax-financial-speculation

2010 People's State of State Rally at Capitol statement [Mark Dunlea/Hunger Action Network of NYS]
http://www.hungeractionnys.org/People\%20State\%20of\%20the\%20State\%202010.pdf

"Taxing the Speculators" by Paul Krugman [NYTimes 11/27/09]
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/opinion/27krugman.html

"The Benefits of a Financial Transactions Tax" [Dean Baker/Center for Economic Policy and Research]
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-benefits-of-a-financial-transactions-tax/

"A Stock Transfer Tax: The Right Medicine for Wall Street" by Dean Baker [3/15/08]
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/15/a_stock_transfer_tax_the_right/

"Ferrer Proposes Return of Tax on Stock Trades to Aid Schools" [New York Times 4/19/05]
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02E0DA1F3EF93AA25757C0A9639C8B63

"Big Idea: Tax the Street" by J.W. Mason [City Limits Magazine 9-10/02]
http://www.citylimits.org/content/articles/viewarticle.cfm?article_id=2806

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From Danny Schechter the News Dissector:

"In Britain, the police are raiding Hedge Funds to bust insider traders. In America, the Hedge Funds are still raiding us, even as public opinion calls for a crackdown on Wall Street. One recent poll, in a nation that seems so divided on everything, showed 82\% for aggressive action. 82\%! A new Bloomberg survey says the public wants the government to punish the financial fraudsters. '57 percent of Americans have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street, versus fewer than one-quarter who have a favorable opinion. Banks are viewed badly by 54 percent of poll respondents, and 60 percent have a negative opinion of insurance companies'..."

"Next Up: Wall Street Reform" by Danny Schechter [Common Dreams News Center 3/25/10]
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/25-3

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Proposed state budget cuts to hospitals in Dutchess County:

Northern Dutchess Hospital-- another $422,000 cut on top of $414,000 cut since April 2008

Vassar Brothers Medical Center-- another $1,418,000 cut on top of $1.5 million cut since April 2008

St. Francis Hospital-- another $21,000 cut on top of $6,393,000 cut since April 2008

Fact: As it is now already, according to the Health Care Association of New York State-- "29 hospitals across the state have closed in the last decade alone, the cumulative total of the past six state budget actions already imposed on hospitals since April 2008 is a staggering $2 billion; another $500 million in hospital cuts and taxes has been proposed for this year; the total impact on hospitals, nursing homes, and home health providers from cuts proposed by the Governor is $1 billion"-- see:
http://www.hanys.org/communications/pr/2010/2010-01-27_governors_budget_cuts_jobs_and_services.pdf .

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Fact: School districts, which slashed more than 5,000 positions last year, are already cutting even deeper this year, eliminating programs, mailing out layoff notices and, in some communities, are talking about closing schools.

"The three versions (Paterson, Assembly, Senate) point to a budget that will cut aid to public schools and universities." [from "N.Y. Legislature, Paterson Face a Late Budget" by Michael Gormley (3/29/10)
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100329/NEWS/3290322/Legislature--Paterson-facing-a-late-budget ]

"Larger Class Sizes Expected in Mid-Hudson Region If Paterson's Budget Passes" by Kyle Wind
[Daily Freeman 3/29/10]
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/03/29/news/doc4bb0188021a04017888716.txt

"Rhinebeck School Budget Shrinks; More Cuts Possible" by William J. Kemble (D. Freeman 3/28/10)
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/03/28/news/doc4baedce482f59478958570.txt

Go to these five articles below for the details on how state funding is being decimated to local schools:

[also big budget cuts to Hyde Park/Pine Plains/Beacon/Millbrook/Dover/Spackenkill/Pawling/Webutuck!]

Rhinebeck Central School District-- $1 million cut in state aid from NYS (Rhinebeck.Wordpress.com)
http://rhinebeck.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/budget-alert-from-cispe-community-in-support-of-public-education/

Poughkeepsie City School District-- $2.2 million cut in state aid from NYS (Poughkeepsie Journal)
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100321/NEWS01/3210361/In-financial-plight-city-district-may-close-school [proposed already-- closing Columbus Elementary to save $1 million-- and besides this, eliminating 14 staff positions and 17 teaching assistant positions]

Arlington Central School District-- $5.5 million cut in state aid from NYS (Poughkeepsie Journal)
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100311/NEWS02/3110333/State-aid-drop-leaves-Arlington-schools-with-difficult-budget-choices ["keeping the spending increase below 3 percent, Pepe said, would require cutting $4.87 million in programs and services across the district"]

Red Hook Central School District-- $1 million cut in state aid from NYS (Daily Freeman)
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/02/16/news/doc4b7a0226118f8397138008.txt
["state aid cuts of $1.09 million require a 4.2 percent local tax levy increase before trustees even begin development of a 2010-11 district budget"]

Wappingers Central School District-- $6.1 million cut in state aid from NYS (Poughkeepsie Journal)
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100324/NEWS02/3240332/Wappingers-looks-to-cut-36-positions [proposed budget "cuts 32.5 full-time teaching positions and four staff jobs, would increase spending 5.99 percent, resulting in a tax-levy increase of 13.97 percent, if approved by the board"]

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Note as well-- if innovative revenue solutions like re-implementation of a stock transfer tax aren't found on a state level, even worse county-level repercussions will be felt here in Dutchess-- besides the recent property and sales tax hikes, budget cuts, and layoffs; see:
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100209/NEWS01/100209029/Steinhaus-wants-state-mandate-relief ;
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100203/NEWS01/2030325/Steinhaus--County-faces-economic-challenges ;
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/02/22/news/doc4b82c6d756ec2517779362.txt .

Fact: As it is now already currently there are 35 less county employees than in 1987 yet there are 50,000 more people in Dutchess County.

Fact: As it is now already all of the following cuts went through in the 2010 Dutchess County Budget:

[despite best efforts from yours truly on this; thanks to118 of you signed on to my http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SaveDuCo petition effort to find alternative cost-savers to these cuts here]

-- $1,000,000-plus cut to our countys Board of Elections (shortstaffing for 2010 though huge elections this year)
-- $26,000 cut to the Dutchess County Office of Veterans Affairs (part-time employee laid off)
-- $233,000 cut to our countys Office for the Aging (Senior Friendship Centers now on 4-day weeks instead of 5-day)
-- $209,839 cut to Dutchess County Community Action Agency (meaning less services, layoffs)
-- $200,000-plus cut to DCDOH laying off 4 county employees, eliminating countys senior home care program
-- $185,000 cut to Cornell Cooperative Extension (meaning less services, layoffs)
-- $165,960 cut to the Astor Home for Children (meaning less services, layoffs)
-- $114,000 cut to Family Services (meaning less services for the most vulnerable in our county)
-- $111,000 cut to Grace Smith House (meaning less services)
-- $106,987 cut to Hudson River Housing (in the midst of worst housing/foreclosure crisis in decades)
-- $56,553 cut to the Lexington Center for Recovery (shortfunding methadone clinic for heroin addicts)
-- $55,000 cut to Dutchess County Arts Council (meaning less services)
-- $41,000 cut to Mid-Hudson Library System (meaning less services)
-- $28,111 cut to the Mediation Center of Dutchess County (meaning less services)
-- $23,000 cut to Mental Health Association of Dutchess County (meaning less services)
-- $23,000 cut to BOCES (meaning less services in transition/re-entry program)
-- $11,000 cut to Lexington Center and $3000 cut to Literacy Connections (meaning less services)

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From http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/testimony210.pdf ..

Testimony to the Senate and Assembly Joint Fiscal Committees

2010-11 Executive Budget Proposal

February 1, 2010

Submitted by:

Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness


I would like to thank the distinguished members of the committee for the opportunity to speak here today. My name is Ron Deutsch and I am the Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. Our organization spearheads the Better Choice Budget Campaign, a coalition of over 100 Labor, faith-based, human service and grassroots organizations representing over 1 million New Yorkers. We urge you to explore other possible spending cuts and revenue raising options that would help mitigate the potential devastating impacts of the cuts to services proposed by the Governor. Taking $7.4 billion dollars out of our state's economy during a recession will only make the current economic situation worse, not better. There are better choices to be made.

Close the Stock Transfer Tax Loophole ($3.2 billion)

(Secs. 270-281-a State Tax Law): The stock transfer tax is basically a sales tax on
the transfer of individual stock. Any stock transaction involving the New York
Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange or NASDAQ is subject to the tax. The
original issuance of stock is not subject to the tax. However, transfers of
treasury stock are taxable.

The tax has been in effect for decades but unfortunately the money is currently
tallied, assessed, collected and then handed right back to the brokers who paid it
in the form of a 100\% rebate. The tax was collected until 1981. The state began
rebating the tax in 1979 (at 30\%), 1980 (at 60\%) and in 1981 (at 100\%).
The way it works is simple. The broker fills out a return (form MT-650), submits
payment to the state and the state wires the money right back to the broker. In
the past the state had to momentarily take possession of the tax to fulfill the
arcane requirements of its bond agreement with the Municipal Assistance
Corporation (this is no longer the case).

In order to discourage speculation, supporters of the Stock Transfer Tax
Loophole Closure should also consider tying the tax to trading volume: the lower
the trading volume, the lower the tax. A side benefit of the plan would be
to lessen the frenzied volatility that caused many of the recent problems on Wall
Street.

NYS currently rebates 100\% of the nearly $16 billion in Stock Transfer taxes back
to brokers right after it is paid. We suggest that 80\% be rebated and the State
retain 20\% which would result in $3.2 billion annually in state revenue.

The Tax rate and basis is as follows:

Selling Price (per share) Rate (per share)
Less than $5 1 1?4 cents
$5 or more but less than $10 2 1?2 cents
$10 or more but less than $20 3 3?4 cents
$20 or more 5 cents
Transactions other than sales 2 1?2 cents per share

Stock Transfer Tax
Collections Before
Rebates*
State Fiscal
Year Ending
In:
Amount:
1980 452,743,623
1981 580,660,890
1982 561,440,112
1983 793,351,417
1984 1,023,718,768
1985 973,710,060
1986 1,232,497,287
1987 1,527,383,132
1988 1,755,983,416
1989 1,375,278,554
1990 1,610,760,964
1991 1,706,615,076
1992 2,210,761,060
1993 2,365,933,800
1994 2,935,823,760
1995 3,003,612,181
1996 3,595,094,985
1997 4,104,580,775
1998 5,572,567,976
1999 6,782,443,468
2000 7,494,935,815
2001 7,631,765,383
2002 6,682,575,506
2003 9,288,841,525
2004 10,605,122,527
2005 11,549,250,124
2006 11,593,533,764
2007 13,419,216,071
2008 16,313,860,949
2009 15,991,810,068

*The tax is rebated at the following rates:
Beginning October 1, 1979: 30\%
Beginning October 1, 1980: 60\%
Beginning October 1, 1981: 100\%
Source: Table 22, New York State
Department of Taxation and Finance, 2008-
2009 New York State Tax Collections:
Statistical Summaries and Historical Tables,
November 2009.

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From the Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess (see http://www.TrendNY.org )...

From http://www.trendny.org/Press_Release-omnibus.pdf ...

Wall Street can help Main Street
March 26, 2010

The Omnibus Consortium -- a statewide coalition of property tax reform groups, fiscal watchdogs, education advocates and unions -- is urging members of the Senate and Assembly to provide urgently needed property tax relief.

Wall Street should help fund this relief (property tax reform proposals can be found at http://www.Omnibustaxsolution.org ). The Consortium members contend that we can no longer continue to subsidize W all Street at the present levels while we leave people on Main Street struggling with record foreclosures and high unemployment.

The consortium members believe that there are many ways in which Wall Street can help in solving New Yorks property tax and budget crisis. For example, simply lowering the rebate level of the Stock Transfer Tax from 100\% to 80\% would produce revenue of $3.2 Billion, sufficient to gradually phase in a meaningful property tax circuit breaker while reducing the massive cuts to local governments and schools that are being debated in Albany and which would place additional pressure on our local taxes.

Press Release

March 25, 2010

Ron Deutsch, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness (518) 469-6769
Gioia Shebar, Tax Nightmare.org (845) 256-0082
Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator, (845) 527-5309
John Whiteley, NYS Property Tax Reform Coalition, (518) 585-6837
Robert McKeon, Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess (TREND) (845) 399-4582

Main Street Needs Help From Wall Street
Property Tax Groups Urge State to Stop Wall Street Giveaways

The Omnibus Consortium -- a statewide coalition of property tax reform groups, fiscal watchdogs,
education advocates and unions -- is urging members of the Senate and Assembly to provide
urgently needed property tax relief and to ask Wall Street to help fund it (property tax reform
proposals can be found at www.omnibustaxsolution.org). The Consortium members contend that
we can no longer continue to subsidize Wall Street at the present levels while we leave people on
Main Street struggling with record foreclosures and high unemployment.

Revenue collected by New York State from the Stock Transfer Tax (fact sheet attached) has risen
dramatically in recent years and remained at near record levels for 2009 (approximately $16 Billion).

Unfortunately, in 1981 New York State made an agreement to rebate the entire annual amount of
the tax -- which rightfully belongs to the people of our state -- back to the brokers, basically as an
inducement to ensure the Stock Exchange's continued presence in New York City. While Wall
Street is obviously important to the state's financial health, we believe that, just as the people of our state helped rescue Wall Street from its financial crisis, New York State should now ask Wall
Street to forgo a modest portion of the stock transfer tax rebate to fund property tax relief for
residents experiencing unsustainable property tax burdens made even worse by the state's continued financial crisis and cuts to schools, healthcare and localities.

The consortium members believe that there are many ways in which Wall Street can help in solving
New York's property tax and budget crisis. For example, simply lowering the rebate level of the
Stock Transfer Tax from 100\% to 80\% would produce revenue of $3.2 Billion, sufficient to
gradually phase in a meaningful property tax circuit breaker while reducing the massive cuts to local governments and schools that are being debated in Albany and which would place additional
pressure on our local taxes.

The Great Recession was, in large part, caused by finance sector excesses.
Wall Street's record 2009 profits resulted largely from taxpayer bailouts and favorable federal
monetary policies that privilege the finance sector.
Wall Street is looking at record profits: $58 billion in 2009 (3 times higher than the previous
record set in 2006 according to Mayor Bloomberg) and cash bonuses exceeding $20 billion (which
does not count tens of billions in stock options that were given as bonuses as well)
While Wall Street may have recovered, New York's Main Street economy remains mired in the
Great Recession.
Widespread economic distress (lost jobs, lost health care, lost homes through foreclosures, lost
retirement savings, lost opportunities) will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Consortium also acknowledges the fact that when the state pulls back on its funding
commitments to education and aid to municipalities the inevitable result is an increase in taxes at
the local level to make up the difference.

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From http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/2010bcbcPr.pdf ...

For Immediate Release Contact:
February 22, 2009 Ron Deutsch, NYFF 518-469-6769
Frank Mauro, FPI 518-786-3156

Advocates Join Together to Urge Governor and the Legislature to Make
Better Choices To Balance the State Budget
Call Upon Wall Street and the Federal Government to Help Main Street

(Albany, N.Y.) Members of the Better Choice Budget Campaign joined together today to urge the Governor and the Legislature to explore alternatives to state budget cuts that would further erode jobs and desperately needed services. The group, a diverse coalition of statewide and local labor, faith-based, human service, non-profit and environmental organizations, released an extensive list of revenue-raising and cost-saving options that can help New York State achieve a balanced budget without destroying vital programs and services.

The coalition also called upon Wall Street and the federal government to help in balancing this years state budget in ways that help to preserve the services needed for Main Street to prosper.

With at least 48 states experiencing major budget shortfalls, the Campaign supports the Presidents call for an extension of the fiscal relief that the federal government provided to the states last year. In December, the US House of Representatives passed extensions of the stimulus bills Medicaid and education relief; and, similar proposals are now being considered by the US Senate. Since the states have to balance their budgets in good times and bad, it makes sense for the federal government to help the states to balance their budgets during recessions. This reduces the amount of economically harmful spending cuts that the states have to make during bad times.

The key is to have the phase-out of the federal governments state fiscal relief dovetail, as closely as possible, with the recovery of the state governments finances, added Frank Mauro, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute who pointed out that state governments fiscal recoveries have historically lagged their economic recoveries.

One of the Better Choice Budget Campaigns recommendations involves a little known but very costly rebate system involving the taxation of stock transactions on Wall Street. New York State currently collects a minimal tax on stock transactions; but that tax is then instantly rebated right back to Wall Street in the amount of $16 billion per year. If New York State were to temporarily rebate 80 percent of this tax, rather than 100 percent, fully $3.2 billion a year would be raised in sorely-needed state revenues.

"Just a month after Wall Street handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses, New York's schools and colleges are again facing devastating cuts," said Stephen Allinger, Director of Legislation for New York State United Teachers. "School districts, which slashed more than 5,000 positions last year, are already cutting even deeper this year, eliminating programs, mailing out layoff notices and, in some communities, are talking about closing schools. Rather than undermine all the years of progress we've made toward improving education and ending the achievement gap, we're asking lawmakers to curtail tax giveaways that fund excess profits on Wall Street and use this new revenue to save jobs and fund important education programs."

Mayor Bloombergs January Financial Plan for 2010-14 estimates that 2009 Wall Street profits were a record $58 billion, nearly three times the previous record that was posted in 2006.

Main Street is suffering and could use a returned helping hand from Wall Street, stated Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. It was not long ago that Main Street bailed out Wall Streetdelivering a miraculous recovery that includes record profits and large bonuses. Wall Street has a vested interest in a healthy New York State economy and a temporary reduction in their generous rebate would not be too much to ask.

"In this crushing recession, families needs are rising and the resources to meet them are falling," said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. "The Legislature should respond by passing a budget that makes Main Street their top priority: a budget that grows the economy by investing in working families, schools and communities across the state, rather than a budget with cuts in education, health care and human services that will worsen unemployment and further destroy the safety net. "

"Governor Paterson slashed all environmental funding in his Executive Budget Proposal without considering the consequences, which are serious. In the final state budget, New York's leaders and lawmakers must make better and more responsible choices about using taxpayer dollars in order to protect New Yorkers and our air, land and water," said Rob Moore, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.

Thanks to the Great Recession, the demand for civil legal assistance people needing help with foreclosure, unemployment insurance and other employment issues, orders of protection, and other critical issues impacting economic stability - has increased dramatically, but funding to respond to demand has not, said Kristin Brown Lilley, Director of Legislative Advocacy for Empire Justice Center. The Governors budget eliminates all $13 million included in last years budget for civil legal services, leaving only a proposed $15 million stop gap appropriation in the Judiciary Budget that is intended to help mitigate an anticipated 70 \% funding reduction in the main state level funding source for civil legal services, the IOLA Fund. We call on the Governor and the Legislature to address the States fiscal problems by actively embracing progressive revenue raising and cost savings options, rather than cutting or eliminating funding for civil legal and other essential human services at the very moment struggling New Yorkers need them most.

"We all understand the need for sacrifice and the demands of this economy - but such circumstances also require careful budgeting and sound policy choices, stated Shelly Nortz, Deputy Executive Director for Policy with Coalition for the Homeless . The elimination of $104 million in appropriations for shelters, services and housing for the homeless in this budget proposal is the most irresponsible action I have seen here in my 22 years of representing the needs of homeless people. Assuming, for example, that homeless men and women have $36 million in their pockets available to make up for state cuts to shelter operations is patently absurd. We need a realistic budget based on real dollars and sensible policies, not phantom gap closers.

The campaign suggests that rather than slashing education, health care and the other vital services that New York families depend on, the Governor and the Legislature should make a better choice: a balanced approach that uses existing resources efficiently and raises additional revenues in ways that will not harm our states already fragile economy. This is not the time for actions that will hinder the growth of New Yorks economy or hurt the children and families hit hardest by the economic downturn.

The groups believe that a balanced response to the 2010-2011 budget shortfall should include:

Temporarily reducing the Stock Transfer Tax Rebate from 100\% to 80\% so the finance sector helps the state through the current economic downturn which was caused in part by the excesses of many Wall Street firms.

Closing loopholes that allow large, profitable corporations to avoid paying their fair share of state
taxes.

Reducing the amount of state work that is contracted out to high-priced, for-profit consultants who are being overpaid to do work that state workers can do better for less.

Lowering prescription drug prices for state and local governments and New York consumers by using New Yorks purchasing power to negotiate fair deals with the drug companies.

Making economic development/tax credit programs like Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) and the Brownfield Clean-Up Program more effective and accountable and allowing the Empire Zones Program to expire.

Curtailing growing obesity rates in NY children by adding a 1 cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages.

Ensuring that Reservation sales of cigarettes to non-Native Americans are properly taxed (by
collecting those taxes before the products reach the reservations while still providing Native Americans with tax-free cigarettes).

Using the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund (TSRF) to cover the Governors anticipated gap in this years budget rather than rolling it over to 2010-11. The TSRF is specifically for such end-of-year shortfalls.

Helping the environment by instituting a minimal plastic bag tax to reduce the use of 6.3 billion bags in NYS each year.

Educated New Yorkers, affordable health care and housing, vital state services, a strong safety net, preserving the environment and a sound transportation infrastructure are all essential for a healthy state economy, today and in the future, said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.