VIDEO: New Yorkers Fight Back Against Big Government Spenders
Tax and spend has been the name of the game in New York State. People are genuinely concerned about it and they're finally realizing the fact that it doesn't lead to a more prosperous state or a more prosperous society. People are genuinely concerned about the future affordability and their ability to be able to stay here.
This week on ALEC TV, ALEC’s Executive Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist Jonathan Williams and ALEC’s Public Affairs Director Catherine Mortensen spoke with New York Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and Yorktown Supervisor Matthew Slater, both of Putnam County, about their recently-launched petition drive urging state lawmakers to impose a more stringent spending cap.
Catherine Mortensen: I think most Americans look at New York and wonder how did this state get to be so reckless and so out of control with its spending? Taxpayers in your state are no doubt looking for tax relief. Tell us how your petition is going and exactly what it would do?
Assemblyman Kevin Byrne: It’s been a proposal for several years and when you go through “Rich State’s Poor States” you see the various metrics that they look at as far as taxation and all the various policies that make it just so unaffordable for people to live and stay in New York, certainly the driver for some of those out-of-control-taxes is the out-of-control-spending. While New York State passed a relatively soft tax cap on local governments it does not have a hard spending cap on itself.
In the last several years since we lost the safeguard of having a Republican-controlled state senate, it’s gotten out of control. In 2018, our state’s budget was $168 billion, and this year our state’s budget is now over $220 billion dollars. That’s over a $40 billion increase in state spending.
Supervisor Matthew Slater: If you look at all the statewide polling that we’re seeing right now out of New York, the two issues that everyone is harping on is crime and affordability. When you look at New York State and you talk about affordability, you can’t help but look at the numbers and as the assemblyman pointed out, since 2018 the state budget has grown by $40 billion dollars. That’s just obscene and a lot of that does have to do with the fact that it is a one-party rule system since the end of 2018. Tax and spend has been the name of the game in New York State. People are genuinely concerned about it and they’re finally realizing the fact that it doesn’t lead to a more prosperous state or a more prosperous society. People are genuinely concerned about the future affordability and their ability to be able to stay here.
We all know that we lost congressional seats [in 2020 census]. We all know about the outward migration. Everyone was looking around trying to figure out why. It’s not hard when you dig into the numbers, and you see the in the increase in spending of $40 billion since 2018. We’re trying to raise awareness to the general public but also put pressure on the state legislature. As the assemblyman said, there are bills in the legislature now that could be brought to the floor tomorrow if they wanted to finally pass something and do something meaningful, rather than just talk about it. It is gaining a lot of momentum. We think that we’re on to something. People recognize the importance of it.
Jonathan Williams: Thank God that both of you are taking on this incredibly important issue. New York is ranked 50th out of 50 for nearly every edition of “Rich States Poor States.” One of the points that you made earlier is so important it deserves repeating and that is spending is taxation and taxation is spending at the state level. New York has some of the highest tax rates in the country, the most regulation, lots of big spending ideas. It reminds me of the famous line that President Reagan always used. He said the liberal’s view of the economy can be summed up as this, “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Overspending is something we’re seeing across the country but acutely in a state like New York. It is, of course, driving some of the inflation problems that we’ve seen. Inflation is clearly a phenomenon of “Too much money out there chasing too few goods,” as Milton Friedman said.