Economists’ Statement Opposing the Lazio Tax Proposal

July 18, 2008. Over 110 economists from throughout New York state say the Lazio tax cut proposals are economically and socially irresponsible, jeopardizing Social Security and Medicare. Full statement, followed by a list of the economists endorsing it.

Several weeks ago, eight Nobel laureates and over 300 other economists issued a public statement opposing the large-scale tax cuts that are the centerpiece of presidential candidate George W. Bush’s economic proposals.

We, the undersigned, as economists who live and/or work in New York State, believe that it is necessary to point out that the tax cuts that have been proposed by senatorial candidate Rick Lazio are similarly flawed. While the Lazio and Bush plans differ in a number of their specifics, they share the following shortcomings:

First, the cost of the Lazio tax cuts, combined with his proposed spending increases, would more than exhaust the portions of the projected federal budget surplus that are not attributable to, and needed for the long term solvency of, Social Security and Medicare.

Second, like any long-term economic projection, estimates of sustained budgetary surpluses over the next ten years are at best educated guesses. Should projected surpluses fail to materialize, Lazio’s tax cuts would risk returning us to the era of running chronic deficits to meet routine operating expenses of the federal government. It would seriously reduce the capacity of the federal government to maintain future Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Third, a large tax cut is the wrong priority. Even after a decade of solid economic growth, important public needs remain to be met. These include investment in education, health care, basic research, and other areas essential for long-term prosperity and social well-being. Rick Lazio’s tax cut would leave little room for such investments.

Fourth, Lazio’s proposals would shift after-tax income to high-income persons who have already gained the most from the current economic boom. These additional tax benefits for the wealthy would come at the expense of middle- and low-income Americans. Targeting the surplus to these families as proposed by Hillary Clinton makes more sense.

The prospect of a sustained budget surplus – should it materialize – provides America with the opportunity to invest in its future and to help more of its citizens participate in prosperity. To waste that opportunity with this tax scheme would be economically and socially irresponsible.

List of Economists Endorsing Statement,  as of October 28:

Affiliations provided for identification purposes only.

David Andrews  HAMILTON COLLEGE

Said Atri  SUNY OSWEGO

Hamid Azari   SUNY NEW PALTZ

Christopher B. Barrett   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Sandra Baum   SKIDMORE COLLEGE

William Baumol   NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Lourdes Beneria   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Peter Birckmayer   SUNY EMPIRE STATE COLLEGE

Theodore F. Byrley   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Mariam K. Chamberlain   NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR RESEARCH ON WOMEN

J. Dennis Chasse    SUNY BROCKPORT

Howard Chernick   HUNTER COLLEGE, CUNY

Robert Cherry   BROOKLYN COLLEGE, CUNY

Paul Christensen    HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Ken Christiansen    ITHACA COLLEGE and BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, SUNY

Clifford D. Clark   BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, SUNY

Doug Criscitello   ( Former Director, NYC Independent Budget Office)

Jayne Dean   WAGNER COLLEGE

Gregory DeFreitas   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Thomas DelGiudice   SUNY OLD WESTBURY

Padma Desai   COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Ranjit S. Dighe   SUNY OSWEGO

Romesh Diwan   RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

Matthew P. Drennan   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

William D. Duncombe   SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Debra S. Dwyer   SUNY STONY BROOK

Linda N. Edwards    CUNY GRADUATE CENTER

Joseph G. Eisenhauer   CANISIUS COLLEGE

Marianne C. Fahs   NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Massoud Fazeli   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Gary Fields   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Judith Fields    LEHMAN COLLEGE, CUNY

Frederick G. Floss   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Harold O. Fried   UNION COLLEGE

Alan Frishman   HOBART AND WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES

William Ganley   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Irv Garfinkel   COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Christophre Georges   HAMILTON COLLEGE

Helen Lachs Ginsburg   BROOKLYN COLLEGE, CUNY

William Goldsmith   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Ulla Grapard   COLGATE UNIVERSITY

Robert Guttman   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Mitchell Harwitz    UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, SUNY

Curtis Haynes   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Robert Heilbroner   NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Joan Hoffman    JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CUNY

Elizabeth Holtzman   HERRICK FEINSTEIN    (Former NYC Comptroller)

David Howell   NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Vedit Inal   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Joseph Jamison   NYS AFL – CIO

Bernard Jump, Jr   SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Alfred E. Kahn   CORNELL UNIVERSITY

John Kane    SUNY OSWEGO

Lawrence Jay Kaplan   JOHN JAY COLLEGE, CUNY

Christopher Kilby   VASSAR COLLEGE

Terrence Kinai   UNIVERSITY AT   ALBANY, SUNY

J. Douglass Klein   UNION COLLEGE

Tim Koechlin    SKIDMORE COLLEGE

Edward C. Kokkelenberg     BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, SUNY

Doug Koritz   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Nicholas K. Kozlov   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Mark Levinson   UNITE

Irene Lurie   UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY, SUNY

Malgosia Madajewicz   COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Christopher Magee   BARD COLLEGE

Larry Malone   HARTWICK COLLEGE

Jay Mandle   COLGATE UNIVERSITY

Frank Mauro    FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE

Roberto Mazzoleni    HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Alan K. McAdams    CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Patrick A. McGuire   HOBART AND WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES

Martin Melkonian   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Jo Beth Mertens   HOBART AND WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES

Thomas Michl   UNION COLLEGE and COLGATE UNIVERSITY

Jerry Miner   SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Fatemeh Moghadam   HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Simin Mozayeni   SUNY NEW PALTZ

Thomas Muench   SUNY STONY BROOK

Charlotte Muller    CUNY GRADUATE CENTER

Bill Mulrow   GABELLI ASSET MANAGEMENT

Edward Nell   NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Dick Netzer   NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Egon Neuberger   SUNY STONY BROOK

Carol O’Cleireacain   BROOKINGS INSTITUTION

William O’Dea   SUNY ONEONTA

Mehmet Odekon   SKIDMORE COLLEGE

James Parrott   FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE

Steve Pendleton   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Kenneth R. Peres   COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA

Alex Ratkowski   SUNY BUFFALO STATE

Cordelia Reimers    HUNTER COLLEGE, CUNY

Trudi Renwick    FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE

Carl Riskin    QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY

Leonard Rodberg    QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY

Jean-Paul Rodrique    HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

Elizabeth Roistacher    QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY

Sumner Rosen   COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Roy Rotheim   SKIDMORE COLLEGE

Sid Saltzman    CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Amin Sarkar    SUNY FREDONIA

Michael Schleifer    HUNTER COLLEGE, CUNY

Amy Ellen Schwartz    NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Elliott Sclar    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Anwar Shaikh   NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Richard Shirey    SIENA COLLEGE

Timothy Smeeding    SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

David Sturges    COLGATE UNIVERSITY

William Tabb    QUEENS COLLEGE, CUNY

Jill Tiefenthaler    COLGATE UNIVERSITY

Marc Tomljanovich    COLGATE UNIVERSITY

Christina Trees    SUNY COBLESKILL

Scott Trees    SIENA COLLEGE

A. Dale Tussing    SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Ashok Vora    BARUCH COLLEGE, CUNY

Shaianne T.  Osterreich Warner     ITHACA COLLEGE

Stephen Walsh    SUNY ONEONTA

Stanislaw Wellisz    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

James Wyckoff    UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY, SUNY

Michael Zweig    SUNY STONY BROOK