From the Huffington Post:
New York State is currently in a serious financial condition. Each time it looks like there is an idea that might plug some of the deficit, the state shoots itself in the foot. And with the passage of time, the deficit grows bigger and bigger.
In 2010, New York State had the opportunity to collect over $250 million in delinquent taxes. Instead, they fumbled it. They collected only $45 million through the 2010 Penalty Interest Discount Program. To say the program was poorly run, poorly publicized, and poorly planned would be an enormous understatement.
To illustrate just how sloppily this program was supported and marketed, one had only look at The Department of Taxation and Finance's website, where it actually advertised that there was "no tax amnesty program" despite agreeing to conduct one under legislative orders. To make things worse, the Department told the state legislature that tax amnesty would raise $250 million.
If this story isn't galling enough, take a look at our neighboring states New Jersey and Pennsylvania which, in the past, have raised $725 million and $261 million respectively through blanket amnesty programs. California saw total revenue of $4.3 billion in 2005. Pairing the minor-league $45 million gain in New York State, a state badly in need of revenue, against the successful returns, well, it only highlights the incompetence of New York's bureaucrats.
So, how did Pennsylvania rake in $261 million? It started with Governor Rendell who went on television and radio; created call centers; and aggressively collected as much as he could in tax dollars. If New York relies on spotty, half-hearted initiatives, then it will only continue to miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and the public will be the loser.
Since 1985, New York State has collected a grand total of $1.6 billion from three general tax amnesty programs and four targeted amnesty initiatives. Since September of 2009, New York has issued five requests for proposals for debt collection assistance from third-party vendors -- and they have little to show for it. Clearly, there's a fruitful "end" to be had, but until New York's legislators join together to support a planned amnesty program, the deficit will only get bigger and the number of non-payers will grow.