BUDGET SOLUTIONS ARE ALREADY ON THE BOOKS

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To the Editor:
“Wrong Time to Increase Sales Tax” (Feb. 19 letter to the Editor from New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson) missed the alternatives to increasing sales tax, various other taxes and user fees as a method to fill the multi-billion-dollar budget gap. New Yorkers owe more than $13 billion dollars in uncollected city and state taxes. Collection of these debts could go a long way toward bridging both this year’s and next year’s projected city and state budget deficits.
Both the New York City and State Departments of Taxation, along with the city and state comptrollers’ offices, have lists for those who owe funds, while at the same time seeking rebates and tax returns. The technology exists today to run a cross check before issuing rebates or tax returns. You could easily place a lien on those who owe cash. Why should honest working taxpayers and business owners continue to shoulder the burden for others who don’t pay their fair share? At least have the decency to deduct some cash out of anyone’s rebate or tax return as a down payment against debts owed.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, N.Y.

Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.

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