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Cuomo unveils plan for $2 billion in tax relief

Rochester Business Journal
January 6, 2014

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to make good on recommendations made by a state panel, he said Monday, and has added some suggestions of his own.

Cuomo endorsed recommendations made by the state Tax Relief Commission including freezing property taxes for two years, raising the minimum threshold for estate taxes and eliminating the corporate income tax rate for manufacturers in Upstate New York.

Those were among nine measures Cuomo introduced to provide $2 billion in tax relief.

“The proposals introduced today will keep New York moving in the right direction, creating jobs, growing the economy and providing much-needed relief for struggling families,” Cuomo said in a statement released by his office.

The state will see a surplus of $2 billion in 2016-17, projections show, and will offset the proposed tax cuts, he said.

“Gov. Cuomo's tax proposal draws a great deal from the report our tax relief commission released last month,” commission co-chair Carl McCall said in a separate statement. “The additions the Governor made in his proposal that go beyond our report, such as including a renters' tax credit, make his proposal even stronger.

“Overall, our state's families and businesses will get some of the largest tax relief New York has had in decades under this plan."

The property-tax freeze would be applicable in the first year to homeowners in jurisdictions that stay within the 2 percent property tax cap, Cuomo said. It would be applicable in the second year to homeowners in municipalities within the 2 percent cap that agree to a shared services or administrative consolidation plan, he said.

Cuomo is on board with recommendations made last month by the state Tax Relief Commission that include exempting the first $5.25 million of an individual’s estate from estate taxes. New York, one of only 15 states with an estate tax, currently has a minimum of $1 million.

Eliminating the corporate income tax for upstate manufacturers would save upstate businesses $25 million, Cuomo said.

He also wants to create a refundable credit against corporate and personal income taxes equal to 20 percent of annual real property taxes for manufacturers statewide, resulting in tax relief of $136 million.

Cuomo supports the tax panel’s recommendation to eliminate the state’s temporary 2 percent utility assessment levied on commercial electric, gas, water and steam utility bills, and accelerate the phase-out of for remaining customers.

He wants to provide tax relief for low- and middle-income taxpayers based on their ability to pay, with households earning up to $200,000 eligible for a tax credit against personal income tax.

He also hopes to provide refundable personal income tax credits to those with incomes of less than $100,000 that rent their homes.

Cuomo wants to merge the state’s bank tax into the corporate franchise tax and lower the rate to 6.5 percent.

Simplifying the state’s tax code, including a repeal of the personal income tax minimum tax add-on, the tax on agricultural cooperatives and the stock transfer tax is also on the list.

“We are encouraged to see Gov. Cuomo propose measures to ease the tax burden on New York businesses, especially those upstate,” Rochester Business Alliance Inc. President and CEO Sandra Parker said in a statement released by the organization.

“Today’s announcement brings hope that we’ll see action on these items. The proposal to bring the estate tax in line with federal levels can also ease the minds of small, family-owned businesses that make up the vast majority of RBA members.”

Brian Sampson, Rochester-based executive director of the Unshackle Upstate coalition of businesses and trade organizations in Upstate New York, agreed.

“This year, we have a real opportunity to revitalize our economy and get New York moving in the right direction,” Sampson said in an Unshackle Upstate statement.

“By reducing burdensome taxes and improving the business climate, a new era of growth and prosperity is possible. We are hopeful that Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature will make these items their first agenda items when they return to session this week.”

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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