Sunday, May 8, 2011

Patty Ritchie's Campaign Promises "BROKEN !!"

During last fall's Senate campaign, Patty Ritchie chastised her incumbent opponent for getting rid of a property tax rebate check. Like many Republicans, the then-St. Lawrence County Clerk made restoring the rebate a plank in her campaign platform.

This spring, that goal collided with a blunt reality.

New York faced a $10 billion deficit. Legislators could not afford to return $1.21 billion in revenue to more than 3 million taxpayers - as it last did in the fall of 2008 - to keep a campaign pledge.

They also changed the formula in the adopted budget to provide less to taxpayers.

Morris Peters, a Division of the Budget spokesman, said STAR - which provides property tax exemptions - is a $3.3 billion commitment in 2011-12.

While that's a $65 million, or 2 percent, increase over prior funding levels, Peters said the program was due to receive a $190 million, or 5.7 percent, increase before the formula was changed.

When I asked Ritchie last week why her conference hadn't restored the rebates in lieu of their collective campaign pledge, the senator said that the $10 billion deficit gap had required many "tough" choices.

Yet Ritchie knew - as did Democratic opponent Darrel Aubertine - when she was a candidate that New York was going to face at least an $8 billion deficit at the onset of 2011.

When Aubertine asked Ritchie during an October TV debate how she planned to help close a deficit and also provide rebate checks, the then-candidate replied: "I told you. There's going to be tough cuts."


NYRSC: Patty Ritchie: Property Taxes (inside)

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