Assembly Budget Will Help Ease New Yorkers’ Tax Burden

March 12, 2008
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced that despite difficult times, the Assembly is working to do more to address the burden of rising taxes. The Assembly reverses the executive budget’s proposed cost shifts to local property taxes and rejects a half-billion dollars in tax and fee increases.

“As we negotiate the 2008 budget, I’m working to do more to ease the tax burden New Yorkers face,” said Jacobs.

New York is currently facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, and an effective budget cannot be implemented without careful and thorough planning. To that end, the Assembly’s budget reverses many of the executive budget’s proposed cost shifts to local property taxpayers.

Fuel Tax

The executive budget increases taxes on the already high cost of gasoline by merging the motor fuel tax, petroleum tax and sales tax on fuel into one business tax with annual indexing. This measure would eliminate the gasoline tax cap passed by the Legislature in 2006 and increase the gasoline tax annually to the tune of $13.2 million in 2008-09 and $55.9 million in 2009-10.

“We realize that it is tough enough for New York residents to fill up their tanks as it is, and the last thing we need are more taxes on fuel; that is why the Assembly rejects this proposal,” Jacobs said.

Auto Insurance Surcharge

The executive budget proposal worsens New Yorkers’ economic bind by including a $15 surcharge on car insurance policies statewide on overburdened consumers. The Assembly rejects this proposal, saving New York drivers $48.4 million.

New York City STAR personal income tax credits

The Assembly rejects the executive budget recommendation to delay and limit the scheduled increase in New York City’s personal income tax credit until 2009 as well as the recommendation to eliminate the PIT credit for New York City taxpayers with incomes above $250,000. In addition, the Assembly’s budget proposal restores the full $60 million for New York City families in personal income tax credits.

Property Tax Relief

The Assembly keeps the promise of meaningful property tax relief by rejecting the executive budget’s 1-year delay of a 17 percent increase in the Middle Class STAR rebate program, instead providing an additional $169 million in rebates as had been scheduled. This money will continue to bring additional needed tax relief to many of New York’s hardest working families. The Assembly budget also implements the scheduled 40 percent increase in Enhanced STAR rebates for seniors, helping them to keep more of their hard-earned money and stay in their homes.

Housing Tax Measures

Bolstering our long-term commitment to providing affordable housing, the Assembly authorizes an additional $4 million Housing Tax Credit to help encourage the construction of low-income housing.

In addition, the Assembly budget proposes tax credits for residences that utilize bioheat for space heating or hot water production. This measure would provide an incentive for environmentally responsible energy use, while helping New Yorkers save $1 million. The Assembly also rejects the executive budget proposal to dramatically increase property transfer fees at a time when the housing market is in a downturn, saving New Yorkers $21.5 million.

Additionally, the Assembly’s budget includes a $35 million Historic Homes Tax Credit that will help with the restoration of historic homes in urban areas – a particular benefit upstate.

Corporate Franchise Tax

The Assembly rejects the executive budget proposal to increase the tax on capital assets in New York. This initiative – which would cost New York businesses $98 million – would have a devastating impact on businesses headquartered in our state and would be counterproductive in keeping New York a “headquarters” state.

Sales tax for Internet Retailers

“For too long, New York businesses have struggled to compete with out-of-state Internet retailers that aren’t required to charge sales tax, placing our local businesses at a competitive disadvantage and threatening their ability to survive and jeopardizing the jobs they provide,” said Jacobs.

The Assembly proposes closing this loophole and leveling the playing field for New York businesses and employees.

Tax Credit for Taxis

The Assembly also proposes to continue the $3 million tax credit to offset taxi vehicle improvements, encouraging handicap accessibility.

Temporary Surcharge on Those Earning $1 Million or More

In an effort to provide better schools, more affordable and accessible health care and tax relief to New York’s working families, the Assembly has proposed that a temporary five-year surcharge be placed on the wealthiest New Yorkers – those earning $1 million or more a year, 46 percent of whom are not state residents.

This surcharge will help close the current multi-billion dollar deficit, and in the final four years it will be used to fund important transportation projects vital to the strength of our economy through a newly created program, the New York Transportation Improvement Program (NY-TRIP).

This modest increase is the Assembly’s alternative to the governor’s proposed half-billion dollars in taxes and fees that would nickel-and-dime New York’s businesses and families.

“It is a modest contribution for New York’s wealthiest to pay to deliver better schools, health care and tax relief that so many New Yorkers need and upon which our economy depends,” Jacobs said.

Fighting for Lower Taxes

The Assembly’s proposal hopes to build on last year’s success in reducing the tax burden by lowering the taxes and fees on lower- and middle-income New Yorkers that continue to choke our economy. The proposal addresses many of the immediate needs of New Yorkers, and it is vital that tax relief continues to be a central component in an effort to meet those needs. The Assembly puts the focus of tax relief where it is needed most – on New York’s working families.

“The multi-billion dollar deficit that New York faces requires a budget that is carefully thought out and well-planned. It is important that our budgetary investments go toward maintaining the successes we have already achieved and continuing our progress in revitalizing New York,” said Jacobs. “Providing property tax relief and fair and adequate funding of education will help us to achieve this goal.”