Certainly, people appreciated the challenge New York Gov. David Paterson faced in closing a giant budget hole. What they didn't particularly appreciate since Day One of the budget proposal was closing that hole largely on the backs of hard-working, middle-class families. This includes a whopping 18 percent sales tax hike on regular soft drinks, as well as hikes on more than 100 other everyday consumer goods and services such as clothes, shoes and cable television.
Gov. Paterson appears to be hearing the concerns of his constituents, to his credit. He's quoted in recent news articles saying that the Legislature doesn't have the desire to pass the 18 percent soft drink tax, for example.
New Yorkers have taken it upon themselves to voice their opposition to more taxes - noting that they already live in one of the highest taxed states in the nation. They've had a "Boston Tea Party" to protest the soda tax. And in a recent town hall meeting on the budget, a college student called the tax "foolish."
New Yorkers' opposition to the tax hikes on hard-working families and individuals continues to remain strong in the independent polls; though possible alternatives are also emerging in these polls if Gov. Paterson and lawmakers are interested. The latest Quinnipiac University poll this week shows public opposition to the obesity tax on New Yorkers remains high at 65 percent opposed, 31 percent in support - more than a 2-to-1 margin.
Let's hope New Yorkers stand strong and make sure these middle-class taxes don't pass. It's a bad idea at a bad time for families. And let's hope that other states continue to get the message that hard-working families won't tolerate higher taxes on the products and services they use regularly in order to close budget gaps. It's not a partisan issue; it's a pocketbook issue.