Governor Paterson and state budget director Laura Anglin have turned in a $121.1 billion budget for next year, which despite trimming is still $1.3 billion higher than last year’s. Details are emerging, but as predicted, cuts in education, health care, and the state workforce — which Paterson has proposed before — would be supplemented by increased taxes. These include a five percent luxury tax, an 18 percent “obesity tax” on non-diet sodas and fruit drinks with less than 70 percent fruit juice (or, as we like to think of it, the nation’s first sin tax for children), higher DMV fees, and an expansion of state sales tax to apply to taxi rides, movie and sports tickets, clothing sales under $110, cable and satellite service, and “digital property” (like iTunes!). Oh, and of course taxes on booze (including malt liquor) and smokes will all go up again.
These proposals next go to the Legislature which, given its recent leadership crisis, promises to be uncooperative.