Monday, November 8, 2010

Tax, Tax, Tax, What are we to do in NYS?

In the midst of budget season, what are we who govern in NYS to do?  NYS is one of the highest taxed States in the Country, with little relief in sight.  Taxing citizens to pay for services has become contagious, even at the local government level in NYS.  Often local governments tax and tax with little thought put on the citizen who is barely hanging on to his or her home.  We have entered a new economy, one that most of my generation has never seen in their life time.  As elected officials I believe it is our duty to get the message to citizens, the more we need to spend on services the more we need to raise by way of taxes.  We also need to become more creative on how and what we tax.  No matter what some say, tax is a necessary evil, sort of speak, if we want to continue to have services like public schools.  The question that needs to be asked is, is it fair to tax property owners to fund school budgets?  School tax is just one form of tax that has some citizens at odds with one another.  Although there has been many discussions on how to fund schools, there has yet been a successful alternative presented to property tax as a way to fund schools.

As far as local taxes needed to fund government budgets go, the solution to lowering these taxes is to cut spending.  Obviously, that is easier said than done, but I believe it can be managed to a minimum. Again, this will take fresh new ideas and thinking outside the box, no longer can we tax and serve, tax and serve, a line has to be drawn in the sand, where to draw the line is the question?

When it comes to taxes in NY I have heard ideas like funding school budgets through a payroll tax, which many think is a much better idea than taxing property owners to fund school budgets.  I have also heard, we should create a "so called" millionaire tax, which is a tax that would be posed on those who make a million dollars or more a year.  These are some out of the box ideas, ones that I think needs to be explored further.

For myself, I have a couple of ideas that would tax discretionary income of individuals in NY, sort of like the bottle or gas tax. 

First, when it comes to funding our school budgets in NYS, I think there needs to be an investigation into the lottery system.  When NYS lottery was first introduced it was sold to us as a way to help fund NYS schools.  I think it is about time we find out just how much of lottery funds go toward our schools. 

The two tax ideas I have are, 1.  We should put a 1 cent tax on every stock traded on the (NYSE) New York Stock Exchange.  There are literally billions of stocks traded everyday on the NYSE and a penny becomes real money when it's being traded billions of times, I don't think it would be severely felt across the financial markets, but it could be a real revenue stream for NY to offset property tax.  Plus, I would rather we initiated this kind of tax before we started taxing millionaires, which I believe needs more research before it happens.  2.  I believe we should put anywhere from a 1 cent to a 5 cent tax on all forms of lottery gambling tickets sold.  Yes, I know lottery is a form of tax, sort of speak, and that NYS collects additional tax on all winning tickets sold in NY.  I also see people who I believe don't have the extra money to spend on such exploits come into a lottery provider and spend a $100 a day.  This kind of spending can be described as nothing other than discretionary spending.  Understanding that we cannot tax a tax or that we should tax a tax, we can call it a processing fee.  Whatever you want to call it, if that many people have that much discretionary money to gamble with, than maybe they should pay a little more to help pay for the services required to serve the needs of the citizens in NYS.

Out of the box? Absolutely, but a person has a choice to pay this tax or not, if you don't want to pay a 5 cent processing lottery fee, than don't play the lottery, it's that simple.  I want to make it clear, I'm not encouraging people to gamble, the opposite, I would prefer to see some of those who play the lottery put their money in the stock market.  It's nice to have a dollar and a dream, which is the lottery slogan, but that dollar should be one that is totally discretionary, not funds needed to feed your kids.

Many may disagree with me, but it's a way to bring in more revenue to help lower property tax without imposing new taxes to NYS residence.  I also would like to make it clear, that every penny raised through such a tax should go directly toward offsetting NYS property tax, PERIOD.

We cannot continue to raise taxes in this State or as has been experienced already, people will flee NYS for a more tax friendly State like North Carolina.