New York

New York's $175 Billion State Budget Includes Spending Hikes, 'Mansion Taxes,' and Plastic Bag Bans

The Empire State's new budget grows government spending and red tape.

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Pacific Press/Sipa USA/Newscom

The New York legislature passed a $175 billion state budget for the upcoming fiscal year over the weekend. It bumps spending on schools and health care, cuts spending on welfare and transportation, and includes several tax and regulatory measures, many of which will make libertarians cringe.

The state's economic development efforts are the biggest beneficiary of the new budget, getting a 10 percent funding bump. (Spending as a whole, by contrast, went up a smaller 2 percent.) Much of that is earmarked for the Empire State Development Corporation, which distributes various state tax credit and grant programs. Last year it spent $1.4 million grant on a theater project that created a whole six jobs.

Health and school spending, which together make up some 60 percent of the budget, got small increases of 3.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively. Social welfare and transportation spending both saw cuts of about 5 percent.

Alongside the new spending are a number of new regulatory policies.

Top of the list is a congestion pricing scheme that charges drivers a toll for entering Manhattan's central business district. How much these tolls will be, and who they'll apply to, will be determined by the state's Metropolitan Transportation Agency and a new transportation mobility commission—a setup that's sure to be fraught with political considerations.

In theory, congestion pricing is a sensible policy. Several cities, including London and Stockholm, have used it successfully to reduce gridlock in their downtowns. Ideally, the revenue would be spent on repairing roads or building new lanes, so that drivers gain some benefit from the tolls they'll end up paying. New York's version insteads earmarks funds for subway repairs and regional rail spending.

Also included to help fund New York's crumbling transit system are new rules for collecting internet sales taxes and a new "progressive mansion tax" on the sale of properties valued over $25 million, which together are supposed to raise nearly $700 million for the subway.

The budget also creates a new state commission that will have the power to award up to $100 million a year to political campaigns.

On the regulatory side of things, the 2020 budget includes new rules for limousines, passed in response to a deadly limo crash in upstate New York last year, that left 20 people dead.

The new budget also bans plastic bags, and it allows counties to impose a 5 cent fee on the paper bags. Money from the fee will be spent purchasing reusable bags for low-income shoppers or will otherwise be deposited in the state's Environmental Protection Fund. This makes New York the second state in the union, after California, to ban plastic bags.

On the bright side, the budget includes several criminal justice reforms—we'll have more on those in an upcoming post—and a 2 percent cap on property taxes. The latter two items are some of the few bright spots in a budget that manages to shift even more money from New York taxpayers to an already bloated state government.

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  1. Apparently the fine citizens of New York, primarily NYC, want this sort of thing; so who are we to criticize? I say let them continue on their way to eventual failure and serve as an object lesson on the evils of overly empowering a government.

    1. I haven’t met anyone that actually supports it. It seems this is one of those things where Albany decides what’s best whether people like it or not. Those who I have spoke to seem to agree that it will create a disparity where poor people will not be able to drive south of 60th Street.

      The plastic bag ban will be a fiasco in NYC. We carry our groceries for blocks and sometimes in the rain. I’m trying to imagine how I will carry 4 paper bags, 8 blocks, in the rain. The ban works better where you can put the bags in a shopping cart and wheel it out to your car. Also, I dual use those plastic bags. They become my garbage bags. So in the absence of shopping bags, I will have to buy plastic bags for garbage. I often shop on the way home from work and often on a whim. I will not carry a reusable bag around just in case.

      I remember when all shopping bags were paper and carried many from car to house.

      1. It’s important to note that California did not ban plastic bags; they banned free plastic bags. Now stores have to charge a dime for every bag they sell to you, and people sure as shit wouldn’t pay that much for disposable plastic bags, so now they only sell “re-usable” plastic bags. Which get thrown away too, because most people don’t remember to bring them back with them next time.

        Also, it’s only grocery stores. The local Home Depot gets to give away the same cheap plastic bags they always have, and one of the self-checkout supervisors told me people come in to buy stuff and self-checkout with one item per free bag, Home Depot is now subsidizing the grocery stores.

        1. In Alameda county they are banned entirely, and the store is allowed to sell you a paper bag for 10 cents (it’s a controlled price).

          I blame big Paper

          1. Is there a Home Depot there, or other stores which are not grocery stores, where you can check? I had thought the plastic bag ban was everywhere and asked at both a pet store and Home Depot, and they were free to give away as many disposable cheap plastic bags as they wanted.

            1. When they implemented this in Washington DC, the bag tax was on both paper and plastic bags, but it only applied to places that sell food. There were places that the rack of candy (which was the only food they sold) near the checkout disappeared, so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the bag tax.

        2. For small fee I’d be glad to mail you all my used plastic grocery bags from NC. If the store charges $0.05 I could let them go for $0.03 each. 40% savings.

          1. I sense a Seinfeld road trip episode script in the offing….

          2. Sounds like a good business idea

        3. They did something similar in Chicago, they banned the disposable bags, with the expectation that the stores would not give away the more expensive re-usable bags for free. It backfired, and stores did in fact give away ban-compliant reusable bags for free (leading consumers to simply treat them as disposable)

          They quickly repealed the ban and replaced with a tax of 7 cents per bag, which people sure as shit DO pay for their disposable bags

          1. They do pay it. I haven’t seen the numbers but I assume bag use has cratered however. I would say it has been wildly effective at reduced bag use

      2. Buy your own plastic bags.

        That’s what I plan to do when they inevitably ban it where I live.

        Montreal went full retard too and it’s a matter of time the suburbs follow suit because retardation spreads.

        I’ve already hoarded more than is normal but I’ll be damned if I play this anti-science game.

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          1. Selling plastic bags?

            1. Spiritus’s competition.

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    2. I say let them continue on their way to eventual failure federal bailout and serve as an object lesson …

      FTFY

      1. Sadly, I must agree [unless it happens when the bad orange man is in the White House and has filled the federal courts with constitutional jurists].

    3. Because eventually like the “Big Dig” US taxpayers will be bailing out this city. The Mayors wife misappropriated over $850mil dollars and yet they are throwing a paltry $700mil at the subway The Mayor spent $770mil on trying to fix 100 bad schools and decided it was a failure. WTH? What kind of idiot is this guy?
      Can we not agree that he doesn’t get another dime until his wife explains what she did with close to a billion dollars.

      1. that’s only 7.7 million per school — clearly he didn’t spend enough.

  2. Deep blue states have got to be the most expensive and least fun states out there.

  3. Tax, spend, regulate.

    It’s the only way the prog can achieve orgasm.

    1. Tax, spend, regulate.

      That’s true. Conservatives at least don’t like taxes.

    2. Tax, spend, waste and then regulate,

  4. I was just in NYC for a show. (The Book of Mormon- great show). There doesn’t seem to be any room to create new car lanes. The traffic was dreadful. The roads looked o.k. We walked and took trains. I don’t blame them for directing funds towards public transport. Improving the subway will encourage development.

    The other stuff meh. They get what they vote for.

    1. Public transport makes sense in a city like New York. Why it’s not a world class system is on New York.

      1. The only problem is they cannot tell public transportation from public urinals.

      2. New Yorkers is why.

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  6. $100,000,000.00 in tax dollars to be given to politicians, by politicians.
    What could go wrong?

  7. It’s getting hard to even get my blood up about this stuff anymore…

    1. I’m in California. New York politicians are amateurs.

  8. The budget also creates a new state commission that will have the power to award up to $100 million a year to political campaigns.

    What could possibly go wrong? Or perhaps more wisely, what could possibly go right?

  9. Nice, NY joining the club of Communist states with an exit tax.

  10. Get out of New York.

    1. Escape from New York.

      1. at least Amazon wised up and didn’t play

  11. I am sure that there is a clause in there somewhere that NY state will accept full and unlimited liability for any and all injury caused by formaldehyde soaked ‘reusable’ bags from China, right?
    Right?
    Hello?
    Anybody there?
    Anybody?

  12. The derp is strong with this one.

  13. I grew up an hour and half north Yankee Stadium. At least when I was a kid, NYC was a shithole, but it was a FUN shithole. Times Square (the Zoo), the Bronx on fire, subway rides at night!

    Now, not only is it still the progressive shit hole, it is a fucking left-wing puritanical shithole.

    I still love my Bronx Bombers though!

    1. What a shame. It was showing some improvement under Rudi and the drag queen Billionaire but in recent visits I have notice that the putz has turned it into a real crap hole with no upside.

  14. “New York’s $175 Billion State Budget Includes Spending Hikes, ‘Mansion Taxes,’ and Plastic Bag Bans
    The Empire State’s new budget grows government spending and red tape.”

    New York State lost about 190,000 people lately who moved out.
    Now you know why.

  15. It is the great irony of state economic development efforts that a state would see more economic development if the state stayed out of economic development.

  16. The criminal justice reforms are good.

    The transportation policy is bad. Multipolar cities are becoming more popular. It’s time for New York to develop Harlem, Long Island City, and Atlantic Yards as the new central business districts for the city with Jersey City acting as a fourth central business district on the Jersey side of the Hudson. Lower Manhattan can remain as a playground for the rich with offices for A class media and finance companies and arts and cultural sites that cater to them and the tourists.

    This change would allow NYC to modify transportation infrastructure to reduce congestion in lower Manhattan by:

    1) Eliminating subway service outside Manhattan
    2) Connect the Lincoln Tunnel directly to the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel directly to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel without entrances or exits in Manhattan
    3) Reserve all bridges south of Manhattan’s 64th Street for bikes, pedestrians, and buses

    The net change would be higher rents in Manhattan. more affordable business and residential rents in the Outer Burroughs, and commutes that take less time and cover less distance.

    1. there won’t be any “A class media” companies in a few years. All content will come in 5 minute videos from “influencers” and 20 minute audio files from “podcasters” who are more in tune with young audiences.

    2. Have you ever lived there? Even been there? This is a ridiculous idea.

  17. Also included to help fund New York’s crumbling transit system are new rules for collecting internet sales taxes and a new “progressive mansion tax” on the sale of properties valued over $25 million, which together are supposed to raise nearly $700 million for the subway.

    Why make mega-mansion buyers pay for the subway? They don’t even ride the subway.
    Isn’t that just plain stealing?

    1. That’s kind of the point. Just like the congestion pricing for road use, they’ve determined that the subway is failing because people refuse to ride it in sufficient quantities. So if they can’t charge passengers to keep it afloat, they need to charge the people who are daring NOT to be passengers to keep it functioning.

      Welcome to government.

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    I read that the man is so powerful he had cured different types of diseases, Like

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    INFERTILITY

    LUPUS VIRUS

    CANCER and so on…

    HIV
    contact him on email
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