Rebates never pay off

New York state may be tight on cash, but next year it is looking to dole out $350 to thousands of taxpayers.

As part of the state budget deal, which is due April 1, lawmakers may be approving the handing out of $360 million to 1 million taxpayers – 8,000 families in our area – as part of a middle-class tax rebate. The effort, which will not arrive in mailboxes until next March, does look suspicious. Not only will the action happen in an election year, it comes at a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said repeatedly that the state is tightening its belt.

“It helps families. Democrats a couple of years ago took away the STAR rebate checks, and this is trying to help middle-income families who are struggling,” Senate co-leader Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said in a recent published report.

But what also “helps families” is a prosperous economy in the upstate region. Until that happens – rebates or not – Albany is just throwing money away that will need to be accounted for in the future.