Group Wants To 'Unshackle Upstate' With Tax Breaks
They're calling for a new era in Upstate New York. Unshackle Upstate is an advocacy group that's sounding off for taxpayers.
The organization is proposing an economic revitalization agenda for communities burdened by what they call a "three-headed-monster": high taxes, economic decline and population loss.
"All those factors, combined with an economy that still has not recovered from the recession of 2008, just creates the perfect storm for us to continue to wither away on a vine," said Brian Sampson, the group's executive director.
The group says those challenges need to be addressed now. That's why it's calling for a big tax break for upstate residents, a 25 percent break for anyone making less than $50,000 a year.
The group says that would give the economy a big boost.
"At a very minimum," Sampson said, "they're going to go out, they're going to spend more at the local supermarket and the local hardware store."
"They're going to do some things differently," he said.
The group also wants to reduce state sales tax by 50 percent in counties with high unemployment rates and drops in population.
That includes Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
"I can understand how that would be really desirable for a lot of people up here," said Hammond resident Sara Safe. "And this area has been somewhat depressed and is trying to come back, and they do need to do things to stimulate.
"Something like that would be welcomed in the area," said Sean Allen, a resident of Clayton. "It'd be great -- whether that happens or not is yet to be seen, but we're hopeful that that'll go through. "It'd be great."
Unshackle Upstate acknowledges that it's not likely the plan will go far, though they say they have support from both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature.
The group says even just having their ideas on the table is a good place to start.
Sunday, February 14, 2016, Watertown, NY
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