today I characterized Speaker Sheldon Silver's failure to pass a real property tax cap during the Special Session - and instead attempt to ram through another $2.6 billion in tax hikes - as defying the will of a majority of New Yorkers and Governor David Paterson.
It's the height of irresponsibility for the Speaker to have again blocked a real property tax cap from becoming law. Not only did the Speaker refuse to act on the property tax cap, he tried to raise New York's already crushing tax burden by another $2.6 billion. That isn't just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, it's dropping anchor.
This behavior leads me to one of two conclusions: either Speaker Silver is unaware of New York's fiscal crisis - and what it will take to actually fix it - or, he is more concerned with advancing a political agenda than helping people. Regardless of the motivation, it is the overtaxed, overburdened, fed-up families across New York who will pay the price for his unwillingness to lead.
The Speaker and his entire Conference will have to answer for the tax slap they gave homeowners. The hollow arguments being advanced by the Speaker and his Conference to justify raising taxes by an additional $2.6 billion have gone from laughable to surreal. Everyone knows New York doesn't have a revenue problem - it has a spending problem. The reason New York faces a $6.4 billion budget deficit, a $54 billion debt and has seen thousands of our best and brightest leave is not because taxes are too low. It is because Albany is broken and hopelessly addicted to taxing, spending and borrowing.
Majority Leader Skelos guided the State Senate in enacting a property tax cap almost two weeks ago. Today was a perfect opportunity for the Assembly to follow suit. Yet, the Speaker thought it more important to keep the property tax cap from ever reaching the Assembly floor.