Ulster County Business Leaders Join Local State Legislators to Ax the Healthcare Tax

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March 09, 2018
Ulster County business leaders joined State Senator George Amedore and a representative of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill to oppose efforts by Governor Cuomo to institute a 14% tax hike on private health insurers that would raise the cost of health insurance on individuals and businesses in New York State by more than $140 million.

At a news conference at the Seven21 Media Center in Kingston on Thursday, Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ward Todd said the tax increase included in the Governor's 2018-19 proposed state budget would have a devastating impact on local businesses.  

“After years of double digit increases in healthcare premiums, adding a 14% tax to that expense would be disastrous for our members,” said Todd.

State Senator George Amedore said the healthcare tax would further drive up the cost of health care and make it even more difficult for employers to provide health insurance for their employees.  
"New York already collects almost $5 billion in taxes, fees and other assessments from insurers and we cannot add to that burden by layering on another tax," Senator Amedore said.  "It’s the hardworking men and women of New York who will ultimately pay the price. This is the wrong policy and sends the wrong message, which is why I am calling on the Governor to Ax the Tax."  

In a statement, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill called the tax "misguided." He said he and his Assembly colleagues would reject the 14% tax increase.  "At a time where there is growing uncertainty about our nation's healthcare system instead of disruptive proposals like the health care tax, it is important that New York provide a balance in the marketplace that ensures access and continuity of care."

Also attending the news conference were local business owners and members of the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care who spoke about the proposed tax increase and how it would impact their businesses.   

Local CPA and Ulster Chamber Board Vice Chair David Gagnon said "As a locally owned CPA firm for 44 years, we have always believed in treating our employees like family and have provided health insurance for them. This additional 14% tax will make it more difficult for us to continue to do that."

Tony Marmo, President of Normann Staffing and former Kingston Hospital CEO said the tax hike would be one more impediment to small businesses and make it more difficult to providing access to health insurance, which employees are seeking through businesses, and independently. "Rising health care costs along with the taxes are making it more difficult to survive in a competitive business environment and the Governor's proposal would make it virtually impossible."  

Sean Griffin, President of Cornerstone Services of New Paltz, said "The Governor can't throw roadblocks like these in front of small businesses and expect us to be able to survive and offer employees decent and affordable healthcare. "

Also attending and speaking out against the tax hike were Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of the Business Council of New York State, Eric Linzer, President and CEO of the NY Health Plan Association, and Pamela Reese Finch, Executive Director of the Employer Alliance for Affordable Healthcare.  

Ward Todd, President/CEO
(845) 338-5100