By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Liam McCabe said he had a good time at the party he hosted on behalf of the Brooklyn South Conservative Club at the Kitchen Corner and Bar in Bay Ridge. But he admitted that no one, including him, wanted to be there. “You don’t want to have a party like this,” McCabe, the club’s president, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The big bash, held on May 2 at the popular Fifth Avenue pub, took place to mark Tax Freedom Day, a symbolic event marking the date of the year when New York State taxpayers have theoretically paid their entire tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day in New York State was May 6. Under the Tax Freedom Day theory, if the government took a worker’s entire paycheck each week from the beginning of the year until his taxes were paid in full, the employee would have had to hand over all of his checks from Jan. 1 all the way until May 6, period of more than four months. It also means that the average citizen has to work for four months out of the 12 month year just to pay his taxes.
Tax Freedom Day means that, at least in theory, a worker could now start to keep his hard-earned money.
“We’re finally happy to reach that day. But we’re angry that we have to pay so much in taxes that the day doesn’t come until the beginning of May,” McCabe said. “Our party was sort of like a Boston Tea Party,” he added.
The concept of Tax Freedom Day was invented in 1948 by Florida businessman Dallas Hostetler, as a protest against the country’s high taxes. In 1971, Hostetler retired and the Tax Foundation, a non-profit group, took up the cause. Up until 1990, the Tax Foundation had been crunching the numbers to determine Tax Freedom Day for the nation as a whole. In 1990, the foundation began calculating the Tax Freedom Day for each state.
Tax Freedom Day is “celebrated” in all 50 states. Given the different tax structures in the states, as well as the fact that some states have state income taxes and some don’t, Tax Freedom Day is different in each state. New York has one of the latest Tax Freedom days in the country. Mississippi and Louisiana both have the earliest tax freedom day, March 29.
“It’s getting later and later in New York. It’s crazy,” Club Treasurer Christine Sisto said. “I remember the feeling I had when I was just out of school, working my first job, and saw how much they were taking out in taxes. I could barely get by. And I’m not seeing much for my money,” she said.
The party drew Conservative icons like Mike Long, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, who had the honor of cutting the first piece of the cake, a chocolate sponge dessert that was decorated with the word “Tax.” Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar, Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn), Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), and former state senator David Storobin were also in attendance.
Malliotakis told the party goers that she believed the size of the government was growing because of high taxation, but that the lives of average citizens weren’t getting better.
“I come to Albany week after week and find myself voting ‘no’ on a lot of bills because they’re a waste of taxpayer money. They cost taxpayers money but taxpayers don’t get the benefit from them. They’re expensive but they don’t solve problems,” Malliotkais told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. She named three recent bills as examples of fiscal waste – legislation to allow early voting; public financing of political campaigns; and the New York State DREAM Act, which she said would help undocumented immigrants pay for college at a time when Hurricane Sandy victims are still struggling. “Taxpayer funding for political campaigns; that to me is disgraceful,” she said.
“If all of these bills pass, we’re looking at a Tax Freedom Day in June next year,” Malliotakis said.
“There’s so much waste in government,” Sisto agreed. “David Storobin told us that an $8 million bathroom is being built on the beach near him. He said that for $8 million, the city could help re-build the stores damaged by Hurricane Sandy,” she said.