Leadership and Taxes
January 6th, 2009
David King reports on the day’s events in Albany:
State Senate Democratic leader Malcolm Smith may be nearing a deal with the “gang of three,” Jimmy Vielkind of the PolitickerNY.com reports. According to Vielkind, the three rogue Democratic senators would be given committee chairmanships in a deal reminiscent of the one reached in December, which eventually fell apart. Unlike last time, Smith will seek the input of the rest of the Democratic conference before reaching any final accord. And in an indication things remain somewhat unresolved, Vielkind reports that one of the gang of three — Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz — will not attend tonight’s scheduled meeting of Senate Democrats.
Republican Assemblymember James Tedisco lightened the mood at the Capitol today by launching his anti-“iTax” site. Tedisco’s stand against Gov. David Paterson’s proposed 8 percent tax on individual song and movie downloads features a YouTube clip of Tedisco listening to his iPod and singing along with “New York New York.” The site also features iPod commercial-esque dancing silhouettes with phrases like “Don’t break my achy, breaky heart with the iTax” and “The Gov is taxin’ my hip-hop.”
The site has a handy link to donate to Tedisco’s campaign coffers. “Donate to Jim Tedisco a price of a song,” reads the site, “to help fight to save the music.”
Groups that represent New York State’s poorest citizens took a different stand on taxes. “Tax the rich! Don’t starve the poor,” members the groups chanted during what Hunger Action’s Mark Dunlea estimated might be the 19th or 20th People’s State of the State Address. The theme of the day became obvious very quickly: “The rich are getting off easy. The poor are overburdened. Where is the millionaires’ tax?” Dunlea led chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, poverty has got to go!” between comments from speakers representing organizations like Housing Works, Physicians for a National Health Program and New Yorkers For Fiscal Fairness.
Justin Cunningham of Statewide Senior Action wondered why the rich were spared a tax increase when seniors will suffer from services cuts. Dennis Wheatly of Housing Works noted that New York State is home to the largest population of HIV sufferers in the United States and pointed out that the poor are disproportionately affected by HIV. He also wondered why the governor would not support a millionaires’ tax.
The millionaires’ tax, which would raise income taxes for New Yorkers who make over $1 million a year, has overwhelming support among New Yorkers, according to recent polls. An August Quinnipiac poll showed almost four out of five New Yorkers supported the tax.By Gail Robinson on January 6, 2009, 6:46 pm
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