Tax Hike Mike Falls Off the Wagon of Fiscal Conservatism, Endorses Mortgage Tax

Ball Campaign Releases Tax Hike Mike’s Consistent Record of Raising Taxes and Spending Taxpayer Dollars.

10/1/2010 – Tax Hike Mike’s pilgrimage to the altar of fiscal sanity did not result in a conversion from tax-and-spend policies, as the Westchester County Legislator just accepted thousands of dollars as part of a total $100,000 campaign contribution, rewarding his support for the expansion of the “Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act,” a 2% tax on most real estate transactions, including mortgage and rent payments.

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) today exposed the tax-and-spend record of Tax Hike Mike at a press conference hosted by Stop Tax Hike Mike, a local grassroots advocacy group launched last week to highlight a desire among small business owners to bring an end to the tax-and-spend policies of Tax Hike Mike. Ball was joined by small business owners, real estate agents and developers, members of Union Trades who depend upon the home construction industry for employment, as well as families who will be unduly burdened by more of the same tax-and-spend politics of Tax Hike Mike.

“This mortgage tax is a killer, and Tax Hike Mike is being rewarded for his willingness to shove this tax, yet again, down our throats. I’m calling foul,” Ball said. “For years my opponent ran as a big-spending, tax-loving Westchester Democrat, cozy with Andy Spano and Boss Ryan. Now over the past year he has tried to carefully recreate his image, only recently coming to the altar of fiscal sanity. Now supporting this disaster of a tax increase, Tax Hike Mike has revealed his too-little-too-late political games and gimmickry for what they are, election year posturing. He’s a taxing and spending addict, period. And the only 12-step program available for career politicians like him is term limits, another reform he does not support. The silent majority is silent no more and hundreds of thousands of taxpayers from around the state and millions across the country are now standing up and saying no to the status quo. Tax Hike Mike, as Budget Chairman, taxed and spent Westchester to the dubious position of being the highest taxed county in America. He served as Andy Spano’s toy poodle, approving raises, big cushy perks for legislators and staff, and even approved the $60 million dollar, mother of all unfunded mandates, the Spano Federal Affordable Housing Debacle.  This year, go-along to get-along politicians need not apply. My record of cost cutting, tax cutting and corruption exposing is clear. It’s time for new and independent leadership, and an innate willingness to stand up to the powerbrokers in Albany, and that is why I am running for New York State Senate.”

Robin Murphy of the grassroots advocacy group Stop Tax Hike Mike says that Tax Hike Mike’s support of this mortgage tax shows that voters should trust the Legislative Voting Record, not campaign promises.

“Most politicians wait until they are in office to go back on their campaign promise,” Murphy said. “But Tax Hike Mike doesn’t have even that much control and self-discipline. A month before the election, he’s back in his comfort zone–taxing–and showing us that, despite what he says on his marketing material, he’s neither Fiercely Independent nor Fiscally Conservative.”

Ed Ciffone of the United Taxpayers of Yorktown warned voters that the League of Conservation Voters’ support for Tax Hike Mike has nothing to do with Greg Ball’s environmental record.

“Greg Ball’s record for the League of Conservation Voters is in the high 80s, earned through his support of our environmental concerns,” Ciffone said. “They are singling him out on one issue rather than his overall record, and that one issue is his refusal to raise taxes. Whether you want to call it a mortgage tax or a Community Preservation Fund, a tax is a tax.”

Matt Bevilacqua, the past President of the Putnam County Association of Realtors, said he is already concerned about the lack of buyers.

“This tax is only going to be another factor that will curtail sales and hurt our economy,” Bevilacqua said. “Westchester County is the highest taxed county in the country, and although we do have many wealthy communities, we still have many poor communities. And, the people who live in these communities cannot afford to be continually burdened by these increasing taxes.”

Chad Collesian, a Realtor at Incline Real Property Services, says this tax will further depress the Real Estate market.

“As a realtor serving Westchester and Putnam Counties I strongly oppose this tax,” Collesian said.  “The New York real estate market has been devastated by the market downturn over the past 3 years, especially in Putnam County.  A new tax on a county that already has some of the highest closing costs in the country will only serve to further depress the New York market.  Couple this with the new health care tax of 4% on real estate transactions set to go into effect on in 2013 and you are setting up a scenerio where real estate valuations could continue to fall for the forseeable future, or at best stagnate.  Politicians need to wake up to reality here.  New Yorkers are taxed to death. We need to lower taxes on real estate and real estate transcations in order to stimulate growth, not raise them.”

Below are just some of the increases that Tax Hike Mike has passed onto his constituents, which has helped make Westchester County the most taxed County in the Country. Add to this list Tax Hike Mike’s 2% real estate tax should he find himself in Albany in 2011.

TAX HIKE MIKE’S SHAMEFUL VOTING RECORD

  • 2009-2010: Spearheaded Andy Spano’s $60 million federal affordable housing debacle.
  • 2008: Tax Hike Mike called salary hikes for 19 of the highest paid county employees “fair and reasonable.” (Journal News)
  • 2008: Tax Hike Mike spent $19,868 in gourmet food catering services. (Journal News)
  • 2007: Tax Hike Mike approved $28,300 raise for buddy commissioners already making $127,125, calling increase “fair.”
  • 2007: Tax Hike Mike Rubber Stamps $200,000 in stipends for board committee chairs, doubling stipend for county board chairman William Ryan to $75,200. That’s on top of Ryan’s base salary of $49,200–for a total of $124,400 a year. (Journal News)
  • 2007: Tax Hike Mike Rubber Stamps Andy Spano’s $1.77 Billion Budget, increasing property taxes 3.89%. Tax Hike Mike called the whopping bill “a fair cost.” (Journal News)
  • 2007: Kaplowitz voted to spend $6 Million to purchase rides at Playland.
  • 2006: Tax Hike Mike passes 2007 budget, creating 77 new county jobs and increasing Property Taxes by 3.5%. (Associated Press)
  • 2006: Tax Hike Mike sponsored huge multi-million dollar tax on small businesses, Fair Share for Health Care Act, costing jobs.
  • 2005: Tax Hike Mike Rubber Stamped $1.54 Billion 2006 Budget, raising property tax levy by 3.9%. County employees grew 94 positions from 4,560, including new staff in social services, probation, and public safety. The legislative staff, which is not included in that count, would expand from 23 to 27 positions, with three new fiscal analysts and a staff lawyer.
  • 2005: Tax Hike Mike funds Westchester Medical Center debacle on backs of county taxpayers, absorbing $14.4 Million in maintenance and other costs, even though the hospital projected a surplus. (Journal News)
  • 2005: Tax Hike Mike spearheads significant raises for legislators themselves, as well as for the new county clerk, county executive, department heads, managers and other non-union staff.
  • 2004: Tax Hike Mike votes against the budget to protest that the budget does not raise taxes high enough.
  • 2003: Tax Hike Mike adopted a $1.4 Billion budget with a One-Two tax punch: An 8.5% increase in the Property Tax Levy and a One-Point increase in the Sales Tax. (Journal News)
  • 2003: Tax Hike Mike votes to hike Property Tax by “Whopping 14.8 Percent.” (Westchester County Business Journal)
  • 2003: Westchester County “Named as Highest Property Taxes in New York State.”
  • 2002: Tax Hike Mike moves to hike Sales Tax by 1%. (Journal News)
  • 2001: Tax Hike Mike pushes to raise Property Taxes again. (Journal News)

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →

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