Goodell: Budget Doesn’t Improve Big Picture
Assemblyman Andy Goodell doesn’t need a poll to tell him what New Yorkers think of state government.
Continued population losses tell him all he needs to know — that it’s New York’s high cost of living driving people into moving vans and out of the state.
The Jamestown Republican gave a critique of the state Assembly’s non-binding one-house budget recently during an address on the Assembly floor.
New York’s population losses have been well documented. Following a record loss between 2020 and 2021, New York state’s population decreased by another 180,341 people during the 12 months ending July 1, 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released in December.
At the same time, data published by the Empire Center for Public Policy showed the number of New Yorkers with adjusted gross annual income of more than $1 million dropped to 54,370 in 2020 from 55,100 one year earlier, for a decline of 1.3%. In that same year, the year in which the pandemic first reached New York and other states, the number of millionaire earners nationally increased from 554,340 to 608,540 — a gain of nearly 10%, the researcher noted. So-called high earners comprise roughly eight-tenths of the state’s population but pay 48.5% of personal income taxes.
“That ought to be a shocking wake-up call for all of us,” Goodell said. “So we know that the millionaires are the highest percentage of people leaving New York state. Our own data shows that.”
Both the Senate and Assembly propose increasing the tax rate for those earning more than $5 million from 10.3% to 10.8% while also increasing taxes on those earning more than $25 million from 10.9% to 11.4%. Both of those increases would last through 2027. In addition to the increasing taxes on high earners, Goodell criticized increased taxes on businesses as well as the state not paying more on the federal loan to pay for COVID-19 unemployment insurance expenses.
“So what’s this one house budget do?” Goodell asked rhetorically. “It increases taxes on them even more. If you’re a millionaire and you live in New York City, you already pay the highest income tax rate in the nation and this budget raises it more. Is there anyone in this room that thinks when we’re facing a huge exodus of millionaires we’ll get them to stay if we raise taxes on them even more? … Now one reason why we’re facing a large exodus is because there are more jobs in other states. so what’s this budget do? This budget increases business taxes by 27.6% from 7.25% to 9.25%.Now we know there’s $11 billion in fraud in the unemployment fund and it is a huge huge burden on our small businesses and others. So what’s this budget proposal do? It provides temporary relief by borrowing $2 billion to pay off part of the $2 billion that we owe the fed government. It’s good that we’re taking out of our left pocket and putting it in the right pocket, but we’re not doing anything to solve the problem. To address inflation facing small businesses, which are also referred to in this budget proposal as microbusinesses, the budget does include some additional funding,which I think is great. It’s $50 million to help all the small businesses across New York state. You can do the math. That will barely pay for the cost of the application.”
Goodell was also critical of Assembly Democrats’ refusal to negotiate with Gov. Kathy Hochul on bail reform changes. The governor had proposed an end to the “least restrictive” standard for judges when they’re considering whether or not to set bail in a criminal case.
A late February poll by Siena College showed 36% of voters said crime should be Albany’s top priority, followed by the cost of living (27%) and affordable housing (13%). Goodell was also critical of what he called Democrats’ unwillingness to address cost-of-living issues like an additional gasoline tax holiday or energy policy that he said could help decrease electric rates. Goodell also repeated his call for the state to explore hydraulic fracturing and other ways to increase natural gas supplies in the state as a way to decrease home heating costs.
“I can tell you what the budget doesn’t do,” Goodell said. ‘The budget doesn’t encourage more base generation. In fact every single application for a permit to build a new electric power station in New York state has been turned down. Now apparently we’re pinning our hopes on offshore wind power, which by the way costs about three times more perkilowatt hour. So if you think your electric rates are going down at the same time you’re mandating all electric buildings and all electric cars and shutting down Indian Point and reducing the cap of our existing generation by 1.5 gigawatts with the peaker rules, sadly, we are not addressing that. And our residents will continue to see a huge increase.”