New state budget packed with a series of tax hikes


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The new state budget is due in just a matter of days and for the first time in a few years Gov. Andrew Cuomo is saying it might not make its April 1 deadline, but however the budget ends up, it seems certain state lawmakers are going to renew the so-called “Millionaires Tax”, on the wealthiest New Yorkers.

Cuomo says that income surtax raises $4 billion a year the state cannot do without, as the Governor and state lawmakers wrestle with a lot of uncertainty in budget talks, which they blame on Washington.

President Trump is proposing a number of budget cuts that could have a direct impact on state spending.

Among the revenue enhancers, Cuomo wants to treat electronic cigarettes and vaping the same as smoking tobacco, which would raise taxes, and force vaping outdoors. He also wants to raise taxes on cigars.

Niagara Falls Republican, Assemblyman Angelo Morinello says it is time to hold the line on taxes, “We need to start really addressing, what are we spending money on? Why are we punishing our taxpayers? Why can’t we just say, enough is enough?”

Gov. Cuomo is also proposing to hike taxes on prepaid cell phones, through new surcharges, but the largest chunk of new tax revenue the Governor wants to collect would come through the expansion of New York’s so-called “Amazon Tax” on Internet sales.

In some ways, the expanded Internet sales tax is supposed to level the playing field for New York businesses, such as CityMade in the Town of Tonawanda. CityMade’s president and CEO Gary Stezewski said his company has to collect sales tax from in-state customers, so why not require the big online retailers to do the same?

“We work hard on a daily basis and any advantage that we can have–especially if the big businesses would help–and there certainly are a lot more small businesses out there than large businesses.”

If Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers cannot come with a new budget by this weekend’s deadline, they might have agree to a budget extender, which has not been done in years. Additional spending on school aid and the Governor’s plan for free college tuition are also in play.

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