The Republican majority also passed the historic 2 percent property tax cap, which applies to all school districts and local governments. This saved property taxpayers more than $4 billion. At the same time, a property tax freeze and rebate program was also put in place, an initiative that saved taxpayers $1.4 billion over three years.
In terms of economic development, the Republican majority slashed taxes on businesses, giving them the lowest rates on manufacturing since 1917 and the lowest corporate tax rates since 1968, and reducing energy taxes as well. These kinds of tax breaks are what keep businesses thriving, keep them in New York and keep jobs here, where they belong.
When Democrats controlled the Senate, there were 124 separate tax and fee hikes. The Democratic majority enacted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax, which turned out to be a job killer for Long Island. Democrats took away STAR rebate checks from homeowners and senior citizens, and under pressure from unions and interest groups, shifted billions of dollars in school aid away from Long Island to New York City.
Do you know what would happen if Democrats regained complete control of Albany? I can guarantee you what would happen: a drastic increase in spending. And what would that mean for New Yorkers? Higher taxes! Businesses would flee to greener pastures and, mark my word, we would lose jobs.
State spending increased by $14 billion under the Democrats. It took years for the Republican majority to restore fiscal sanity. New York just received its highest bond rating in 50 years. Let’s not go back to chaos and dysfunction.
We must keep a system of checks and balances in our state, and the only way to maintain some semblance of fiscal sanity is to keep the State Senate in Republican control. We cannot allow our elected officials to crumble under political pressure from left-leaning candidates who were recruited and financially supported by labor unions.
No matter what the ideology is of the voters of New York City, let’s not forget that we are a more moderate state. Let’s make sure our government remains fiscally responsible.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.