However, New York’s high tax burden also reflects a greater willingness than some states to support education and help the needy, for example, through Medicaid, Keel said.
Lopez said New York’s “rich array of services” includes a higher level of Medicaid than the federal standard, a program that impacts on county property tax bills.
Under mandates from Albany and Washington, D.C., school districts and municipalities will be challenged to avoid piercing the governor’s property tax cap, Lopez said, and the recently approved plan for property tax cuts will be an interesting experiment.
The question is whether Cuomo and the Legislature will be able to maintain a course of spending while implementing programs to strengthen the economy, Lopez said.
Meanwhile, constituents will reiterate funding demands for schools, highways and social programs. Funding was cut previously as a result of the recession and election pressures, he said.
“New York is challenged because it offers so much,” Lopez said.
STATE BUDGET, ECONOMY INTERTWINED
Development of this year’s budget was focused more on the economy, Lopez said, and changes in the corporate franchise and the energy surcharge, among others, will help households as well as businesses.
“Everyone does better if the economy is healthy,” Lopez said Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, said he is calling on state legislators to reduce taxes, but relief also is a “big issue” for federal lawmakers.
“It’s important that we work on this issue,” Gibson said.
Under tax reform, money goes back into the economy as taxpayers have more money to spend on home improvements, buying cars or appliances or other spending, he said.
“It’s also helping growth — economic growth,” he said.
Gibson said he supported successful efforts to make permanent tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, is opposed to taxes on energy and is working to close tax loopholes.