VIDEO: Groups Urge Tax Reform

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Representatives from tax reform advocacy groups from around the state called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo today to hold true to what they said was a promise to create a tax reform commission, Gannett’s Aaron Scholder reports.

Members of the Omnibus Consortium, a coalition of tax-reform advocates and labor-backed groups, held court at an impromptu press conference in the Capitol to voice their frustrations over what they said was inaction by Cuomo on tax fairness.

Cuomo said during his State of the State address in January that he would create a commission to look at tax fairness issues in the state.

Ron Deutsch, the executive director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, said Cuomo’s plan for a commission would not include coverage of local taxes, but it should.

Cuomo has suggested the commission would look at the income-tax structure in the state. Last December, Cuomo and lawmakers approved keeping higher income taxes on the wealthy and lowering them slightly for the middle class.

“We would suggest that property taxes have to be part of that mix. We have to look at our state and local tax structure, we cannot simply look at the state tax structure,” Deutsch said. “No one pays just sales tax, no one pays just income tax, people pay a variety of different taxes and we have to figure out the best and fairest way to figure out those taxes.”

The group said the commission’s creation would be a necessary bold move to help ease New Yorkers’ tax burdens.

“It’s all about revitalizing the upstate New York economy,” said Robert McKeon, the director of Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess. “When you step back and look at it, actually very little has changed in tax policy in New York state. What we need to do is have this process be removed from politics … to make sure that we’ve got a fair system that represents all interests.”

The group said any commission that Cuomo creates should be comprised of economists and affected parties and include all state and local taxes.

“We want this to be a thoughtful and deliberative process, we don’t want this to be rushed,” Deutsch said.

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