Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 13, 2006

Majority Tax Relief?
Assembly Minority: "It's too little. . . but it's not too late"

Assembly Minority members blasted the Majority tax-relief package, introduced today as part of the Majority budget proposal, calling it "impotent." They said both the size and the scope of the tax-relief package have come up far short, cheating overburdened taxpayers of real and lasting relief.

"Majority members have never been stingy with the taxpayers' money except when it comes to giving some back," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga.) "They have proposed too much spending and not enough tax relief."

Tedisco said the Majority property tax relief plan is particularly inadequate, providing far too little relief to far too few homeowners due to a very strict and complicated formula for who can be eligible. Tedisco said the plan he and his Assembly Minority colleagues introduced one month ago is more than twice as large ($2 billion to $900 million,) covers more homeowners, is more comprehensive and is better structured to provide lasting relief to overburdened homeowners.

Tedisco said under the Majority plan a homeowner would only receive a tax break if their property taxes were greater than 7.5 percent of their income, meaning that a working family of four with a household income of $70,000 with a property tax bill of $5,250 or less would not receive any relief.

"What the Majority has done, in essence, is given an aspirin to, and put a band-aid on, a property tax burden that is in need of major surgery," said Tedisco. "They still don't get it."

Tedisco added, "They've put their big toe in the pool to test the water, now we're going to push them in to give the big splash property tax relief homeowners deserve."

The Assembly Minority plan is based on increasing the exemptions of the successful STAR program to better reflect today's median home values. They also call for a Co-STAR program to reduce the non-school tax side of the property tax bill, and call for an elimination of unfunded mandates that drive up property taxes.

They say they will offer their plan as an amendment today during the Legislative session.

"We're going to offer real relief to the homeowners of this state," said Assemblyman James Hayes (R-Amherst,) the Ranking Minority member on the Ways and Means Committee. "We understand the burden that rising property taxes place on families and seniors and we have a serious plan that addresses the seriousness of this issue."

Hayes also said Majority did nothing on gasoline taxes or the senior heating credits to help seniors with the high price of heating their homes, two areas addressed in the Minority's overall tax-relief plan.

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