The Storm is Coming!

Update: 8:17 a.m. The Weather Channel has named the snowstorm Nemo. If you find yourself with any free time today. Phil Cleary of the North Syracuse EA is reminding his central New York colleagues this storm won’t stop a network of political action coordinators across the state as they advocate for more state aid. Sign on to the NYSUT Member Action Center today.  It makes it easier than ever to send an email, fax, and get updates.

Update: 5:35 p.m. Thursday

Just heard from Cheryl Hughes of the Kenmore Teachers Association. She and others met with Assemblyman Sean Ryan Thursday afternoon.

“We lost our gifted and talented program, eliminated a remedial/study period and have much larger class sizes in my middle school,” Hughes told the Buffalo Democrat.  She said the education advocates gave specific information to their lawmaker about how districts in western New York have had to cut what works for kids “in order to fund Pearson, Doctrina and other test makers. The money we are spending on testing should be going into technology for our classrooms. We are preparing our students with paper and pens when they need the quick access to technology to be prepared for the future.”

Your NYSUT brothers and sisters meet today and tomorrow with lawmakers in their home district offices.

They bring the pain of how state budget cuts have hurt opportunities for students across the state, and how that pain is getting deeper, like this news article from Watertown. But they also bring solutions. They will explain how closing several tax loopholes can bring our state nearly $1 billion in much needed revenues. Here’s a few of them:

  • Only give the Investment Tax Credit to businesses that maintain or increase jobs.
  • Stop giving tax subsidies to companies that outsource jobs.
  • Impose a Gap Elimination Adjustment on corporate tax breaks.
  • Stop “Nowhere Income.”

My favorite is the Gap Elimination Adjustment. If you have had a cut in state aid, it’s most likely because of that GEA, which was pushed through by former Gov. Paterson back in 2010. It was an annual aid “take back” by the state to balance the state budget on the backs of schools. Here’s how it impacts just one school district, the Canajoharie schools. Here’s a link to the impact of the West Irondequoit schools. People who analyze state budgets for a living realized that there was no counterbalance to this on the revenue side. Here’s a link to the Fiscal Policy Institute, which is backing a campaign to bring fairness to the state’s corporate tax system.

You can help them by calling your local lawmakers. Many of you may have a snow day tomorrow. So in between shoveling, why not call your lawmaker in the Assembly or the Senate. Tell them you have a common sense answer to the cuts to our libraries, our parks, and a wide variety of public services. Tell them to stop giving a tax subsidy to corporations that outsource jobs. Tell them to only give tax breaks to companies that keep jobs, or increase them in our state. (Gee, might that help decrease the unemployment rate too?)

Talk to them about the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the “Nowhere Income” scams. Have no idea what “Nowhere Income” means? Here’s a link to a long explanation, especially the impact it has on small business owners. New York is one of 20 states that could gain corporate income by adopting this throwback rule.
“Sales of tangible personal property are [deemed to be] in this State [for apportionment purposes] if the property is shipped from an office, store, warehouse, factory, or other place of storage in this State and the taxpayer is not taxable in the State of the purchaser.”  (The bracketed material has been added to clarify the meaning of the throwback rule but is not part of the rule itself.)
See, historically, most states taxed multistate businesses using a formula that took into account the proportion of a company’s property, payroll and sales that were made in the state. New York was one of 20 states that changed to a formula where companies only pay taxes in proportion to the sales they make in a state. But that also means that a company whose sales are entirely out of state won’t pay anything to its home state. Yes, that means it could pay nothing for using highways or roads, or public protection services, or fire departments.

Or if you have a lot of snow to shovel, go to NYSUT’s Member Action Center to fax your lawmaker.

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