Please let us know asap if you might be able to come out today-- Mon. (Apr. 16th) 4:30 pm to join us-- for our Rally to Save Hyde Park Elementary School!...(on Rt. 9 in Hyde Park next to Regina Coeli Church)...
And-- also come out if you can to speak up on this Tues. (Apr. 17th) at 6 pm Hyde Park School Board mtg. at Haviland Middle School on Haviland Road!...(kudos to effort-- Josh Horton, Cathy Baker, et. al.)...
[this could have been avoided; see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org ; http://www.99PercentNY.org ; bad enough that Smith Elementary & LaGrange Elementary have closed; 1/2 K now in Poughkeepsie]
[recall my Feb. Valley Views Poughkeepsie Journal op-ed-- "Demand Fairness in New York's Budget":
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20120223/OPINION04/302230037/Demand-fairness-New-York-s-budget ; even May 2010 NYTimes editorial warned us Cuomo was going to sell schools out(!):
Recall-- recent Marist/YNN, Siena, Quinnipiac and Hart research polls all show the vast majority of New Yorkers strongly supported maintaining the FULL millionaires tax-- which used to bring in five billion dollars annually from richest 2% of New Yorkers (and now because of Cuomo deal only nets $1.9 B!):
http://www.capitaltonight.com/2011/02/groups-band-together-to-push-millionaires-tax/ ; http://www.hungeractionnys.org/Poeple%20SOS%20release%202011.pdf ;
Pass it on...
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[this below from front page of Saturday's paper if you missed it]
Hyde Park Elementary School to shut
District begins shift; school closure may save $1.7 million
1:49 PM, Apr. 14, 2012 |
The Hyde Park Board of Education next meets at 6 p.m. April 17 at Haviland Middle School on Haviland Road. More information is available at 845-229-4005 or online at www.hpcsd.org.
Hyde Park Elementary facts
Location: Route 9 in Town of Hyde Park
Student enrollment: 225
HYDE PARK - The school district will begin planning to shift students and staff with its decision to close Hyde Park Elementary School at the end of the school year.
The Hyde Park Board of Education accepted the recommendation of its School Closing Advisory Committee to shut an elementary school to save $1.7 million in programs and staff.
Superintendent Greer Fischer outlined the committee's findings at the board meeting at Netherwood Elementary School. The board will formally vote Tuesday to close the school when it adopts the 2012-13 budget.
The committee concluded that the district's elementary school students can be moved from five to four buildings and, due to declining district enrollment, still receive a sound education.
"The teaching and learning will not be compromised," Fischer said.
The committee, however, left it to the school board to decide to close either Hyde Park or Ralph R. Smith elementary schools - the two of the district's five elementary schools being considered.
This would be the third public school to be closed in two years. The Poughkeepsie City School District closed W.W. Smith Humanities Magnet School, and Arlington Central School District closed LaGrange Elementary School and then used it for district offices. Poughkeepsie is considering closing Columbus Elementary School to help meet a $2.8 million budget gap for 2012-13.
Decision to close
A majority of the six school board members favored closing Hyde Park Elementary, based in part on its lower enrollment and the greater potential for renting the historic building on Route 9 in the town center. In an informal vote Thursday night, board members Sharon Matyas, Dan Duffy, Doug Hieter and Glenn Watson supported closing Hyde Park Elementary.
Board member Tim Liebrand supported closing Ralph R. Smith due to its central location in the district. Board member Steven Mittermaier did not express a preference.
The board's decision brought tears to the eyes of many Hyde Park Elementary parents attending the meeting. But some of them acknowledged the board had a difficult decision to make due to economic conditions.
The downturn in revenues, particularly state aid, and rising expenses created a budget gap next school year that was initially $10.5 million. The board has closed that gap by planning to cut costs across the district and spending $6 million in fund balance and reserve funds.
The final budget draft of $83.5 million reduces spending next year by 0.29 percent and raises the tax levy 2.68 percent to $52.7 million. This still meets the state 2 percent tax-levy cap when exemptions for capital spending, payments in lieu of taxes and pension contributions are factored in.
The board is opting to use $405,939 of the $605,939 of state aid recently restored by the state Legislature to offset the tax-levy increase, which was 3.53 percent. The other $200,000 will be used to offset district expenses.
The savings resulting from closing the elementary school will come primarily from reducing 16.5 staff positions. This includes a principal, six teaching positions, a librarian, a nurse, a secretary, three custodians and two cafeteria staff.
"The major part of the savings are in the administrative and managerial operation of the building," Fischer said.
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[again-- in case you missed it-- my op-ed Valley Views from Feb. 22nd Poughkeepsie Journal]
Demand fairness in New York's budget
11:10 PM, Feb. 22, 2012 |
Joel Tyner is a Dutchess County legislator for District 11, Clinton/Rhinebeck. He is also a Democratic candidate for the 20th Congressional District.
See http://www.DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com ; http://www.JoelforCongress.org - call us at 845-444-0599 to get involved.
Also see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org
Here are 10 reasons to come out to our "A Better Choice Budget for New York" forum with New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness Executive Director Ron Deutsch, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Rhinebeck Town Hall at 80 East Market St. Deutsch will also be speaking the same evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie on 20 Carroll St.
1. The Better Choice Budget Coalition sensibly calls for a return to the full millionaires tax and closing one billion dollars' worth of corporate tax loopholes annually - coalition members include the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, Statewide Senior Action Council of NYS, NYS Coalition for the Aging, New York State Library Association, Interfaith Alliance of NYS, Interfaith Impact of NYS, NYS Episcopal Public Policy Network, Alliance for Quality Education, Environmental Advocates of NY, Center for Independence of the Disabled of New York, NYS AFL-CIO, CSEA, NYSUT, PEF, AFSCME, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, NYS Community Action Association, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Community Voices Heard, Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Hunger Action Network of New York State.
[see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org ]
2. Fact: New York's millionaires tax used to bring in $4.6 billion in revenue annually; because of December's tax deal, it now only brings in $1.9 billion in revenue - creating a $2.7 billion hole in the state budget ( http://www.FiscalPolicy.org ).
3. Meanwhile, over the last two years alone $2.7 billion has been cut from state aid to schools - so Hyde Park Elementary School may close, LaGrange and Smith Elementary schools already closed, and the City of Poughkeepsie has cut back to half-day kindergarten - and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed to add only $805 million in state aid to schools this year while proposing to cut $99 million from early childhood intervention services over the next five years.
4. Sixty-three percent of school districts increased their class size because of these budget cuts, 36 percent cut summer schools, 22 percent cut art classes, 14 percent cut music classes, and 17 percent cut honors or advanced placement courses ( http://www.AQENY.org ).
5. The richest 1 percent of New York state households increased their share of all income statewide from 10 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2007, and the 67 billionaires who call New York home have a combined net worth over $234.9 billion ( http://www.99PercentNY.org ).
6. Recent Marist/YNN, Siena, Quinnipiac and Hart research polls all show the vast majority of New Yorkers strongly supported maintaining the full millionaires tax.
[see: http://www.capitaltonight.com/2011/02/groups-band-together-to-push-millionaires-tax/ ; http://www.hungeractionnys.org/Poeple%20SOS%20release%202011.pdf ;
7. As the Poughkeepsie Journal reported ("Seniors pay more under EPIC rules" Feb. 4), because of $36 million cut in state funding last year for the state's Elderly Prescription Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program, "starting in January EPIC participants have had to pay between $3 and $20 for a prescription, depending on the overall cost of the medication; now New York doesn't subsidize participants until they reach the coverage gap of $2,930, also known as the 'doughnut hole' - until that time, seniors pay 25 percent of the cost of the drug."
8. The State University of New York's funding has been cut by $1.4 billion over the last four years - over $300 million last year alone. SUNY's total operating budget has already been reduced by over 35 percent over the last five years ( http://www.SaveOurSUNY.org ).
9. As Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has recently stated, "defined contribution plans are not adequate for retirement security for public or private workers; study after study has shown that defined benefit plans cost less in the long run than 401(k) style plans and perform better" - more workers should have defined-benefit pensions - we shouldn't kill what's left of the middle class by attacking public employee pensions.
[ http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/feb12/021312.htm ]
10. Finally, large multinational corporations that do business in New York should pay taxes; some of the worst corporate tax dodgers are Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Travelers Insurance, Verizon and Goldman Sachs. We need to level the playing field so that small businesses are not left holding the bag while big businesses are allowed to avail themselves of billions of dollars in corporate tax subsidies and loopholes - loopholes should be closed for corporate tax evaders, real estate partnership abuses should end, and New York needs to "expand the nonresident personal income tax to include income received from hedge fund management fees," as Gov. David Paterson included in his 2010 Executive Budget proposal.
[ http://www.99PercentNY.org ]
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From: Kat Fisher
Hudson Valley Organizer
Alliance for Quality Education
94 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
THE 2012-13 STATE BUDGET The Governor's proposed budget committed to increase school funding by $805 million this year, but diverted $250 million into competitive grants. Our focus this year has been to redirect the competitive grants to classroom aid, ensure that high-need schools are prioritized, and get the state to invest in pre-kindergarten. Voting on the final budget is expected to begin on Wednesday but it appears that:
* Nearly $200 million of the proposed competitive grant funds will be restored to classroom aid
* High need districts will be prioritized
* The Legislature rejected cuts to early intervention services for children with special needs as well as to special education for pre-school children.
* The budget agreement includes changes to pre-k that will prevent back door cuts in pre-k.
OUR ADVOCACY MATTERS If not for the large numbers of advocates traveling to Albany in January, February and March to speak up for our children there may not have been such a response from our elected officials. (AQE and allies organized these trips)
$805 MILLION DOESN'T FIX $2.7 BILLION IN SCHOOL CUTS Due to $2.7 billion in state budget cuts to schools, many children have lost college prep and Advanced Placement Courses, Career & Technical Education, arts, music, sports, tutoring, foreign languages, high school electives, after school programs, librarians, guidance counselors and more. Some schools have even cut kindergarten to half-day. State budget cuts were two to three times as large per pupil in poor districts as in wealthy districts. Even with this year's $805 million restoration many school districts are still going to have to make painful cuts.
WHAT NOW? The State Budget will be voted on this week. It is critically important that all of us who are dedicated to improving our public schools and protecting our children's future continue to raise our voices. In order to do this we need to:
* Stay involved and get others involved by:
o Signing up for regular updates http://www.aqeny.org/
o Speaking out at community meetings.
o Holding press conferences in your community.
o Submitting opinion editorials and letters to the editor to local papers.
* Speak truth to power:
o Because of the grassroots advocacy efforts of parents, students, teachers, administrators and school board members, high need districts have been prioritized and classroom funding has been prioritized over competitive grants.
o This state budget is inadequate to address the growing education crisis in New York State. Tell the stories of the types of cuts that your schools are still considering
Budget update: Votes to begin on Wednesday and expected to be final this week
1- $805 million restoration to public schools
2- Nearly $200 million of the competitive grants will be redirected to the classroom
3- High needs districts are prioritized
4- The Legislature rejected cuts to early intervention services for children with special needs as well as to special education for pre-school children.
5- The budget agreement includes changes to pre-k that will prevent back door cuts in pre-k
Advocacy works. There is power in numbers. But unfortunately, because the total $805 million restoration will not fill the $2.7 billion hole and our children will lose more.
Schools are still facing layoffs, school closing, essential program losses, increasing class sizes and massive reorganizations.
Without the efforts of AQE and its allies, the modified Millionaires' Tax that was passed in December would not have been won. Without this increase in state revenue, any increase in education money could have never been funded.
AQE organized students, parents, educators and community members from across the state to speak up for our schools and our children's future. As a result of these efforts we expect, nearly $200m of the competitive grant money will redirected to classrooms, high needs districts will prioritized.
We worked with both sides of aisle in our legislature, both Republicans and Democrats, to fight for quality public schools so that every child has an opportunity to learn. We'd like to thank the Legislature for restoring $805 million to education, moving a majority of the competitive grant funding into the classroom where it belongs and for rejecting cuts to early intervention services for children with special needs and to special education pre-school children- cuts that would have resulted in more cuts to K-12 education since the school district would have had to pay for those cuts- and for making changes to preventing back door cuts to pre-k.
But unfortunately, this year's budget isn't going to prevent more cuts to our schools. The $805 million restoration will not fill the $2.7 billion hole, created by two consecutive years of state budget cuts and our children will lose more. Prior cuts have cost our children teachers and quality programs such as college prep and Advanced Placement Courses, Career & Technical Education, arts, music, sports, tutoring, foreign languages, high school electives, after school programs, librarians, guidance counselors and more. Some schools have even cut kindergarten to half-day.
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership our state moving in the wrong direction, in regards to education. Our schools are getting worse, not better.
Now we'll hear from our speakers about how state budget has and is impacting our schools.
The budget fixes the Maintenance of Effort issue (districts had to maintain the same number of students served in the year before, to not lose any funding) which penalized many districts for fluctuations in enrollment and provided a disincentive for expanding pre-k services.
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Check out these facts from Ron Deutsch of http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org :
New York is #1 in the U.S.A. in income inequality.
Over the last 30 years, the income of the top 1% of New Yorkers has gone up 500%, while the income of the bottom 50% has gone down 13%
New York has lost over 500,000 jobs during the Great Recession.
One in three New Yorkers are poor or near-poor.
Food stamp use has increased by 1.2 million; 500,000 less have health insurance (and the minimum wage hasn't been lifted in a decade).
90% of federal TANF monies flowing into NYS have been diverted over the last 2 years from purpose(!).
Meanwhile, salaries for business and finance professionals are up by more than 17%, and 3800 New York taxpayers now make over $10 million per year.
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[recall below sent out to this list as well recently]
Thanks much to my Co. Leg. colleagues Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Alison MacAvery, Francena Amparo, and Jim Doxsey...
To their credit, Barbara, Alison, Francena and Jim have all agreed to co-sponsor my resolution below for March Co. Leg. mtg. for Better Choice Budget for NYS!...(see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org )...
[sadly-- and predictably-- GOP Co. Leg. supermajority shot it down across party lines earlier this month]
[recall: Cablevision, some Occ.-Pok. and HPE folks came out our Valentine's Day rally in February:
Kudos as well to Conservative Co. Leg. Jim Doxsey for his work for years now to stop New York State from giving literally $16 billion annually to Wall Street in tax breaks re: stock transfer tax rebate...
[see: http://doxseydistrict1.com/?p=639 ; http://doxseydistrict1.com/?m=201103 ;
[join 150+ signed to my http://www.petitiononline.com/stocktax effort if you agree with Jim/me on this!]
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Fact; Last year state spending on health care was cut by $2.8 billion, and the State University of New York has been cut by $1.4 billion over the last four years; SUNY's total operating budget has already been reduced by over 35% over the last five years, tuition is scheduled to rise by $300 a year every year for the next five years; our state's Department of Environmental Conservation was funded at $1.5 billion in 2009-2010; Governor Cuomo has proposed less than $1.1 billion in funding for the DEC for 2012-2013; there were 4050 DEC staff in 1989; less than 3000 DEC staff are proposed in Governor Cuomo's budget for next year.
[see: http://eany.org/images/Reports/budgetbrief12-13.pdf ;
http://www.SaveOurSUNY.org ; http://www.nysenate.gov/files/Jackie%20Haynes.pdf ;
http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/education/12college.html ]
From AQE too ( http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658278308#!/events/306129579428162/ ):
$2.7 billion of state aid has been cut from NY schools in the last two years. Essential programming has been lost. Services to special education have been reduced. 11,000 teaching JOBS have been eliminated last year alone. Community schools are closing. Standard building maintenance has been postponed. Our students and teachers cannot take another year of cuts:
And-- check out http://www.SaveOurSUNY.org -- one-third of state SUNY funding cut over last 3 years!
["college tuition has gone up 432% since 1982, 2x the rate of medical care and 4x the rate of inflation"]
Fact: Cuomo has proposed to rip $99 million out of state funding for early childhood intervention services over the next five years (and cuts tobacco prevention funding by $10 million over the next two years).
[reaction noted in recent Albany Times-Union piece on this: "Early intervention providers were stunned by the cuts to the program. 'I'm extremely disappointed,' said Leslie Grubler, of the United New York Early Intervention Providers."-- from "Details of Cuomo's Budget Proposal":
Also-- according to the Environmental Advocates of New York:
[see http://eany.org/images/Reports/budgetbrief12-13.pdf ]
Fact: Our state's Department of Environmental Conservation was funded to the tune of $1.5 billion in 2009-2010; Cuomo has proposed less than $1.1 billion in funding for the DEC for 2012-2013.
Fact: There were 4050 DEC staff in 1989; less than 3000 DEC staff are proposed in Cuomo's budget for next year.
[recall recent EANY report-- 90% DEC SPDES permits rubber-stamped due to understaffing @ DEC:
Fact: Cuomo has proposed a $1.2 million cut to the DEC's Air and Water Quality Management program, a $4.2 million cut to the DEC's Solid and Hazardous Waste Management program, seven less staff for the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, two less staff for NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and $190,000 less for municipal recycling (among other cuts; see EANY.org pdf report).
Fact: As it is now already, over the last four years, DEC and Ag and Markets have each lost over 20% of their staffing.
Don't forget what happens here in Dutchess County when state budget not fully funding human needs-- just over last two years Dutchess GOP have eliminated county funding for our county's Human Rights Commission, Office of Consumer Affairs, Youth Bureau's Project Return program for troubled teens, a full five-day week at our county Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers (instead of the current four-day week); appoint a County Historian. Also, our county DSS' Day Care Unit needs to be fully funded-- as your annual report's 2011 Departmental Annual Summary informs us all that, "Effective July 1, 2011 the income guidelines for the Day Care Unit were changed to those whose income is below 125 percent of the poverty level-- from those whose income is below 200 percent of the poverty level"... [recall-- http://www.petitiononline.com/cobudget ]
[also-- for reminder of last year's cuts-- see http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/nybu-a12.shtml !]
Don't forget the fact is that the richest one percent of NYS households increased their share of all income statewide from 10 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2007-- there's no reason the state should be shortfunding monies for seniors' prescriptions, our schools-- or anything, for that matter...
[Dec. 13, 2010 report from FiscalPolicy.org; for more info re: corporate tax loopholes see: http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/Tax_onesheet-1_5_12.pdf ]
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Not Enough to Meet Social Needs
James Parrott is the deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute.
UPDATED DECEMBER 8, 2011, 7:16 PM
The Albany agreement on taxes and jobs is an important step in the right direction. It involves a progressive change in the state's personal income tax structure that generates a net of $1.5 billion to help reduce next year's budget deficit. It will provide a modest but much-needed job stimulus.
Too many highly profitable Fortune 500 companies use loopholes and favors to avoid paying state income taxes.
Economically, both the income tax increases and decreases mainly occur among upper-middle and upper income households in New York City and its suburbs. The modest tax bracket reduction for those under $150,000 will be spread across the state, as will the benefit of averting $1.5 billion in budget cuts.
The troubling thing is that a $2 billion budget gap remains. Funding for schools, public higher education, mass transit, child care and homeless assistance already have been slashed at a time when needs have multiplied in the wake of the Great Recession. New York has lost 500,000 job opportunities and $31 billion in annual earnings that go with those lost opportunities
The two-thirds increase in food stamp recipiency - 1.2 million more New Yorkers - since the recession began shows that needs have skyrocketed, yet $20 billion in services and state support has been reduced over the past three years. A half million new jobs would go a long way, restoring self-esteem in the process. More budget cuts will only make it worse.
The second step on the road back needs to be corporate tax reform. As a new report this week showed, scores of highly profitable Fortune 500 companies use loopholes and favors to avoid paying state income taxes. It's no wonder many big corporations are sitting on mountains of cash. Business income taxes have fallen sharply relative to the size of New York's economy - if the share were back to where it was 25 years ago, state revenues would be $3 billion higher.
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A Millionaire at $220,000 a Year?
Bridget Crawford is a professor of law at Pace Law School.
UPDATED DECEMBER 9, 2011, 11:54 AM
Governor Cuomo's new tax plan is well-intended but flawed in execution. It embraces the notion that those who have more should pay more, but implements that policy with blunt tax rates that treat too many people as "millionaires."
Wealthy New Yorkers probably won't pick up and move, but they may think twice about bringing their business here.
What is good about the Cuomo tax plan is that it gives a modest tax break to families that earn less than $200,000 a year. Before 2009, a single New Yorker earning $30,000 per year would be subject to taxation on her last dollar earned at the highest rate of 6.85 percent. That same New Yorker will now pay tax on her last dollar earned at a rate of 6.45 percent. That means more money in the pockets of those who need it to meet basic living expenses.
What is bad about the Cuomo tax plan is that it does not differentiate in a meaningful way between a person who makes $220,000 per year and a person who makes $2 million per year. To Cuomo, these people are all rich -- or at least rich enough to lump together.
A commitment to truly progressive taxation would require lawmakers to get past political rhetoric and acknowledge that the rich are different. Not only are they different from you and me, but they are different from each other. The Fiscal Policy Institute got it right with its proposal to impose tax at carefully stepped rates that range from 4 percent to almost 10 percent, with 12 different brackets. To be sure, 12 brackets are not as finely graded as 24 brackets, and 24 brackets are not as finely graded as 48, but the Cuomo plan lumps together too many taxpayers.
New York's tax rates are among the highest in the nation. Will wealthy New Yorkers pick up and move somewhere else? Probably not. But they may think twice about bringing their business here. The banking and financial services industries are already losing out to states like Delaware and Alaska in the competition for trust business. By making trusts subject to taxation at these high rates, New York is likely to lose even more trust business.
That means loss of jobs for the people who work at banks, the workers with 9 to 5 jobs, families to feed and student loans to repay. In the short term, these folks may be taxed at slightly lower rates under the Cuomo plan, but in the long term, they may not have jobs at all.
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From: Ronald Deutsch
Subject: New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness responds to Executive Budget
Date: Jan 17, 2012 3:26 PM
Budget on Revenues: Smoke Em if You Can Afford Em Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness responds to Lack of Corporate Loopholes Closers in Executive Budget Proposal
"The Governor's 'Smoke Em if You Got Em' revenue generating agenda leaves much to be desired. Raising taxes on cigars and loose tobacco fall far short of a substantive loophole closing agenda especially when our current corporate tax law has more holes than swiss cheese."
"Last week, organizations from across New York called upon the Governor to follow three simple principles when it comes to closing corporate loopholes; enforcement, transparency and fairness. New York could and should collect hundreds of million in uncollected tax revenue simply by enforcing current tax law, especially when it comes to unreported gains from Real Estate Partnerships.
"Before we cut one program for needy New Yorkers we should make sure that wealthy real estate moguls are actually paying their taxes. We must also ensure that big multi-national corporations that do business in NYS pay something in corporate taxes. Too many are avoiding paying any taxes to NYS. We need to level the playing field so that small businesses are not left 'holding the bag' while big businesses are allowed to avail themselves of billions of dollars in corporate tax subsidies and loopholes."
Ronald Deutsch Executive Director
New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness
212 Great Oaks Blvd
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 452-2130 - office
(518) 469-6769 - cell
(518) 869-8649 - fax
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Coalition Wants Corporate Tax Loopholes Closed
WAMC/Dave Lucas (2012-01-10)
ALBANY, NY (WAMC) - A large coalition of community, labor, student, faith and Occupy organizations gathered at the New York State Capitol on Monday to announce their campaign to bring fairness and transparency to New York's corporate tax system. WAMC's Dave Lucas was there and files this report.
Unified under the "99 per cent New York" banner, the coalition, which includes Citizen Action of New York, the New York State Public Employees Federation, Occupy Albany and others, is calling on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to close corporate tax loopholes, raising over $1 billion dollars for this year's state budget. They say additional revenue will help New York to create jobs, create a fairer environment for small business, and prevent more devastating budget cuts to services and our safety net and allow for restorations of reduced funding. Occupy Albany's Colin Donnaruma said "The fact that all too often powerful corporations are able to wield political influence to create tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair-share is a paradigmatic example of the broader economic and political inequalities that have motivated the Occupy movement."
The groups produced a list of companies they allege are New York's worst corporate tax dodgers, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Travelers Insurance, Verizon, and Goldman Sachs. PEF President Ken Brynien notes the list highlights the gross inequities in our tax system that hinder small businesses, job creation, and our economy. Angelica Clarke, organizer with New York Students Rising and Save Our SUNY, says students demand Governor Cuomo and the legislature initiate a tuition freeze.
The coalition's plan to reform New York's corporate tax structure is based on three main principles: enforcement, fairness, and transparency. The Governor's office did not immediately return calls for comment.
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From http://www.abetterchoiceforny.org/Tax_onesheet-1_5_12.pdf ...
[the Better Choice Budget coalition]
New York should raise needed revenue and restore fairness to the tax code by reforming our state corporate tax structure and closing a variety of corporate tax loopholes to make sure small business and big business play by the same rules, and that higher profits are taxed at reasonably higher rates.
Last year's effort to make the PIT more progressive and more fair should continue in 2012 by reforming corporate taxes to close loopholes, end costly and ineffective tax subsidies, and fix shortcomings that unnecessarily reduce tax collections and limit resources needed to maintain and invest in the infrastructure, services and educated workforce that foster long-term economic growth.
Reform Principles: Enforcement, fairness and transparency
Targets: Corporate tax evaders, real estate partnership abuses, hedge funds income treatment
Methods: Tough Audits, reasonable minimum tax for big business, eliminate hedge fund subsidies, mandatory tax reporting for public companies A simple, targeted corporate tax reform effort would provide over $1 billion in revenue for this year's state budget, and provide a start for the Tax Reform and Fairness Commission to continue reforms.
Enforcement: Require Real Estate Partnerships To Pay The Taxes They Owe
New York must undertake a new intensive review of the tax returns of investors in real estate partnerships to ensure compliance with tax laws. In an examination of just one year's tax returns (2005), IRS staff estimated that real estate investors underpaid $5 billion in taxes to the federal government and $385 million to New York State.
Underreporting or misreporting of capital gains from real estate investments is the main cause of tax underpayments. Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston, who reported the 2005 IRS data when he wrote for the New York Times, recently wrote that the annual underpayment of New York State taxes in connection with real estate partnerships ranged from $200 to $700 million annually. Johnston also pointed out that New York City alone could be losing out on $40 million annually.
New York could recover as much as $1 billion from prior-year audits, with annual revenues thereafter well over $100 million. The state of Pennsylvania recently recaptured over $700 million by making sure that the investors in Real Estate Partnerships paid the proper taxes on their overall gains.
Fairness: Reform New York's Corporate Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT)
Several significant loopholes that favor multi-state corporations were added to New York's Corporate AMT beginning in 1994 and the AMT rate was cut from 3.5% to 2.5% in 1999 and then to 1.5% in 2005 for non-manufacturers and most recently .75% for manufacturers (manufacturers rate was recently changed in the tax reform package of December 2011).
A Blueprint for Corporate Tax Fairness: Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes & Reforming the Corporate Income Tax
These changes should be repealed or the AMT should be replaced with a variation of the Alternative Minimum Assessment (AMA) adopted by New Jersey in 2002. To ensure that such an assessment would not hurt small business, it should only be applied to businesses with annual gross profits of $5 million or more.
We need to level the playing field between large and small businesses by making sure that large multinational corporations pay a minimum corporate income tax in NYS. NYS should increase the Corporate AMT to where it was a decade ago (3.5%) which would generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue.
Tax Nonresident Hedge Fund Management Fees
In his 2010 Executive Budget proposal, Governor Paterson proposed to "expand the nonresident personal income tax to include income received from hedge fund management fees."
As the governor's proposal explained, "Currently, only a small portion of such income is taxed as compensation, with the remainder deemed tax-free capital gains. This proposal would result inequal treatment of this income for residents and nonresidents." This proposal would generate $50 million in additional revenue.
Eliminate the Carried Interest Exemption Under New York City's Unincorporated Business Tax
The State Legislature should eliminate the carried interest exemption loophole in the New York City Unincorporated Business Tax, to put the taxation of private equity and hedge funds on the same footing as that of thousands of smaller businesses. Right now, the City Unincorporated Business Tax taxes fees received by managing partners in private equity and hedge funds but actually exempts profits from taxation.
"Carried interest" is the technical industry term for the profit share received by managing partners (usually 20 percent of pooled investment profits) in hedge funds - anyone else would call it corporate profits.
The New York City Independent Budget Office estimated that eliminating the carried interest exemption for the Unincorporated Business Tax would yield $200 million a year for New York City. This reform was recently supported by Mayor Bloomberg. Transparency Crackdown on Schemes that Create "Nowhere Income"
Multi-state corporations pay no taxes on profits attributable to sales made in states in which they do not have a physical presence. To address this situation, 28 of the 45 states with corporate income taxes, including California, Texas and Utah have enacted "throw-back" or "throw-out" rules to limit this drain on state revenues.
In contrast, New York actually went backwards on this issue in 2005, instituting a wasteful "Single Sales Factor" method for apportioning multi-state corporate profits that actually increase "nowhere income" and opportunities to evade taxes.
It's time to institute reforms that have worked for other states. Require Public Disclosure of Corporate Tax Payments for Publicly-Traded Companies Revenue neutral, but disclosure and transparency measures are a good addition to any corporate tax reform package.
We urge the state to adopt corporate tax disclosure for publicly traded firms subject to taxation under 9-A and 32 and any successor taxes. These and other corporate tax reforms are supported by a broad range of community, labor, student, faith and Occupy groups from across New York - for more information visit 99PercentNY.org.