2007-01-24 / Editorials


Tax Cuts Are Good Start To A Brighter Day In NYC

Of all the ambitions outlined for New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the State of the City Address he delivered at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn last Wednesday, the two that seem most significant to us are the $1 billion in tax cuts to be realized through tax relief for homeowners and small businesses, and elimination of the sales tax on clothing and shoes. Both measures will benefit both New Yorkers and visitors alike, besides bearing testimony to the mayor's foresight and perspicacity.

Lowering the property tax rate by five percent will result in $750 million in savings to the property owners that make up a sizable portion of the population of New York City. Bloomberg calls for implementing this measure while retaining the $400 property tax rebate already in effect.

Property owners also make up a sizeable portion of another segment of its population that the city can ill afford to lose- the middle class. Without a tax break for middleclass property owners, the city will trend more and more toward a population of very rich and very poor. No civic entity can function without a thriving middle class- schoolteachers, police and firefighters, small business owners and their employees, to name just a few who fit in the category. Not only does a viable middle class perform jobs without which the city could not function, its members also make a major contribution to a city's economy. The goods and staples they buy, the utility bills they pay, the fees they pay for licenses and permits all help to keep money in circulation. Their use of the infrastructure makes maintaining that infrastructure necessary and since the middle class supplies many of the workers employed in such endeavors, more money keeps circulating. As we all know, active circulation is vital for good health- fiscal as well as physical. There is no end to the ways the city and the people who live here can benefit from Bloomberg's proposed tax break.

The mayor's proposal to eliminate the city sales tax on all clothing, not just those items costing $110 and under, is another idea whose time has certainly come. Like the property tax break, eliminating the city sales tax on all clothing items, regardless of price, will be an enormous benefit to every city resident. As any parent will attest, trying to keep growing children in clothes and shoes is an uphill battle. As for adults, even those who buy clothes more for comfort and convenience than to keep abreast of fashion trends will welcome having the tax on clothing items reduced by more than half or eliminated altogether.

Eliminating the city sales tax on clothing items will benefit more people than just those who live here. Besides clothing buyers by the hundreds who come to the city for shows of major designers' spring and fall lines, many people around the country periodically visit the city to replenish their wardrobes because they know our stores carry the latest, trendiest and best made merchandise. While the state tax on clothing over $110 will still be in effect, eliminating the city tax will reduce the total tax on clothing purchases to less than 5 percent. Bargain hunters will flock to New York City.

While they're here, the people who are doing their clothing buying in New York City either for themselves or because it's their job, will do more than shop. They visit our entertainment venues, dine in our restaurants and otherwise put money into cash registers and civic coffers. If ever we heard of a win-win situation, this is it.

The past five years of innovation, accountability and fiscal responsibility have put the city in a position of strength and led to a unique and special reward: an ambitious agenda that will prepare New York for a stronger, brighter, happier future. Lowering property taxes and eliminating clothing sales taxes will go far to bring about that future. In the mayor's own words: "Now is the time to continue to advance policies and goals that will continue our city on its upward trajectory." Saving property owners $750 million in property taxes and instituting across-the-board benefits that will result from eliminating the city sales tax on clothing and shoes is an outstanding way to start.

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