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The following letter appeared in this week's edition of The Gazette:
To the editor:
In olden times, the political parties had differing views of taxation. Republicans felt that sales taxes fell on all equally and were therefore better than property and income taxes, which fell on those who were deemed more productive, as evidenced by their greater wealth. Of course, it is simply false to say that sales tax falls on everybody equally and Democrats traditionally pointed out that Republicans were wrong.
Democrats said that the sales tax is a regressive tax which falls disproportionately on the poor and on working families. Democrats still say that today in (of all places) Texas. In Westchester, it is a different tune.
Here in the deep blue bastions of New York and Connecticut, modern Democrats rant about not being able to deduct five-figure annual property tax bills. And New York income taxes have soared to levels which are causing concern in Albany: Governor Cuomo had what the Wall Street Journal described as a “tax epiphany” when he realized that NY income taxes were so high that the evil one-percenters who pay 46 percent of state income taxes are starting to flee to Florida.
I don’t mind the newfound pragmatism regarding the effect of taxation. Mr. Cuomo has learned the lesson taught by David Tepper to the state of New Jersey. And property taxes are also an issue in New York. But this is no reason to squeeze working class families, as the New York Democratic leadership has just done.
My favorite quote comes from our own George Latimer. Sounding like an old-style Republican, Mr. Latimer talks about how he doesn’t want to raise property taxes (which in Westchester average $17,000) but instead he cheers the increase in the regressive sales tax. Unlike Democrats of old, Mr. Latimer was gleeful upon hearing of the new 8.375% tax going into effect in a few weeks. He actually said (I’m not making this up): “August is not a big sales tax month, as you might imagine, if you’re not in a resort environment. But it does give us the front end of back-to-school shopping."
New York’s Democratic Party has gone from opposing regressive taxation to celebrating the fact that they are sticking it to working parents. Times have changed.
--Paul Steinberg, Croton-on-Hudson