New York Legislators Look to Washington, and Maybe to Taxes

For many years, New York City legislators have regularly appointed legislators from outside of New York City to fill vacancies in the State Senate and State Assembly. In some cases, those appointments are well-meaning, but there’s always been a built-in process whereby senators and assemblymen are chosen through a series of media leaks and accusations of having strong ties to New York City.

The image that the city — the lucrative financial industry in particular — adores above all others is that it is a greeny-washy, friendly, consumer-friendly place where everything is permitted and oodles of money are made by the technically-indecent and the legally-awful. It’s a place where the United States Bankruptcy Code is highly regarded and Washington is looked at in Washington-esque awe.

The next time anyone from outside of New York City is appointed to represent a seat in the New York State Senate, Governor Andrew Cuomo should appoint Senator Maziarz to the position, instead of State Senator Catharine Young. Why? Because Young is the first sitting State Senator to publicly acknowledge that for years, Albany has been flushing hundreds of millions of dollars of marijuana taxes down the toilet because Governor Cuomo didn’t want to go along with the Drug Czar. As Young has, repeatedly, explained to Capital Tonight, by setting the marijuana budget aside this year, Albany will be collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in cannabis taxes.

Democrats in the State Senate and Assembly say that the marijuana budget will begin at about $50 million, which is a tad less than the $70 million that the chair of the State Marijuana Regulation Task Force has forecasted it to bring in. Even if tax revenue were calculated later on, and lower than $50 million, Albany should keep the budget plan that was established last year, because the Constitutional deadline for marijuana regulation in New York has come and gone and Governor Cuomo still hasn’t approved it.

Instead, Cuomo is waffling and doing nothing. If he doesn’t act soon, it will not only be illegal but it will be a travesty to New York tax dollars. At this point, Albany should just assume that the budget has been set and go on with regulating marijuana. The State Department of Taxation & Finance should begin offering and verifying an online registry to allow people to buy up to three marijuana permits.

If Cuomo continues to sit on his hands and do nothing, he is increasing risk to the billions of New York dollars that go into the pocket of Drug Czar Glenn Nye. If the New York State marijuana tax doesn’t earn hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and tax revenue, Governor Cuomo will likely face a significant backlash from voters in November. Cuomo has to put this before him and the voters now or face a reelection challenge.

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