January 18, 2010
By NYSYD Communications Director Jenni Royer
In this difficult financial time that has New York State government gripped in disagreement and disarray, there are few paths that lead out of the darkness. Yes, there must be reform in many areas – especially in Medicaid which not only burdens the state, but many localities – especially county governments.
In the face of daunting fiscal challenges – governments usually only have two options: to raise taxes or to make cuts to programs and services. Neither of these are attractive solutions during a major recession which has everyone feeling the pain. There is however, a third option.
New York State needs to find new revenue sources. While the natural gas boom is on hold due to the potential environmental dangers it could cause without expensive oversight – there is a new revenue stream which has been ignored by many elected officials.
This new revenue stream would not hurt anyone, well it might hurt some feelings of pundits, but nonetheless – it is not dangerous to the environment or to our finances. It will make families stronger and safer despite the fear-based lies which have been sowed and it will help our state rebound by bringing in 1/6th of what the State Legislature cut in December of 2009.
What is this new revenue stream which would bring in around 200 million dollars to New York State and its local governments?
Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson released a report in 2007 that showed that same sex marriage would bring in new revenue through taxes and fees of around 200 million dollars. Since the state already recognizes same sex marriages performed in other states by Executive Order of the Governor – the state stands only to gain from allowing same sex marriage. See the following figure from Former Comptroller Thompson’s report:
For too long have untrue and hate/fear-filled rhetoric have controlled the debate. It has been shown in other states that allowing homosexuals to marry is not a slippery slope and it will not unravel both society and the law. It is time to look straight at the logic of the situation. Laws which do not recognize the relationships between certain members of our society detrimentally affect those citizens both in their need and right to belong within society, their pursuit of happiness and their need to lead healthy lives. Marriage is the basis whereby families gain legitimacy and safety under the law. When one is safe – one has the ability to flourish, to grow – to follow the American dream and be all that one can possibly be.
In this time of fiscal upheaval – we need families to feel safe. We need them to feel safe enough to invest in new homes, in education for their children, in their ability to provide for their children and the person they love after they die. In no way does this harm anyone – it can only bring forth benefits which have too long been ignored. Marriage is a legal basis for fiscal stability. It can only benefit our communities while it fiscally benefits our state and municipalities. By allowing the thousands of same sex couples in our state the right to find legitimacy under the law in marriage – by giving our neighbors, our coworkers, our family and friends the rights which should be afforded to all citizens of our great nation – that is the first step towards turning the tide.
We need to mobilize young adults in this state to spread the knowledge that this is much more than just a civil rights issue; it is also a fiscally responsible move for the state. We need to make sure that every elected official knows that financial stability is the basis of marriage and now, more than ever, we need every constituent in our state to feel financially stable. Through allowing all people the right to marry, regardless of their sexual preference, we create a foundation to let all families in our state grow and flourish. Together we can stand…or divided we can fall.
So with a $7 billion dollar budget deficit forecasted for next year, we need to find creative ways to raise money for our great state. Our plan will bring in at least $200 million dollars in new revenue. In these times of financial uncertainty how can we afford to pass up on this idea?