Assemblywoman Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) announced that the 2009-2010 state budget rejects a laundry list of new taxes and fees included in the executive budget to help ensure families aren’t nickel-and-dimed during these challenging economic times. Rescinding these proposals will save New York families more than $3 billion over the next two years.
Preserving Basic and Enhanced STAR
In the final budget, the Assembly continues its commitment to reducing property taxpayers’ burden by dedicating $3.5 billion to the state School Tax Relief (STAR) program.
“The STAR program provides vital tax relief for homeowners across the state. At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, it is important that we preserve STAR savings,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “Saving homeowners money on their property taxes goes a long way toward helping keep families in their homes.”
Removing $1.3 billion in nuisance taxes
The final plan rejects the executive budget’s proposed taxes on:
- digital downloads – saving New Yorkers an estimated $15 million in 2009-10 and $20 million in 2010-11;
- flavored malt beverages – saving New Yorkers an estimated $15 million annually;
- cable and satellite television and radio services – saving New Yorkers about $136 million in 2009-10 and $180 million in 2010-11;
- non-diet soft drinks – saving New Yorkers an estimated $404 million in 2009-10 and $539 million in 2010-11;
- haircuts, nail salon visits and other personal services items – saving New Yorkers an estimated $78 million in 2009-10 and $104 million in 2010-11;
- movie tickets, sporting events and other entertainment-related purchases – saving New Yorkers an estimated $53 million in 2009-10 and $70 million in 2010-11;
- filing a paper tax return, saving New Yorkers $6.8 million;
- trout and salmon fishing stamps, saving anglers $3 million;
- capital improvements on homes – saving New Yorkers an estimated $120 million in 2009-10 and $160 million in 2010-11;
- store coupons – saving New Yorkers an estimated $3 million in both 2009-10 and 2010-11; and
- a 4 percent sales tax increase on clothing and footwear under $110 – saving New Yorkers about $462 million in 2009-10 and $660 million in 2010-11.
“The regressive tax and fee hikes proposed in the executive budget would have resulted in difficult choices and hardships for families,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “We can’t expect millions of New Yorkers to balance the state’s budget themselves by scrounging up extra bucks for nearly every aspect of family activity, including gym memberships, haircuts and ballgames. Instead, the wealthiest New Yorkers must contribute a bit more during tough times.”
Asking the wealthy to do their fair share
Assemblywoman Barron said the budget does not increase personal income taxes for over 97 percent of New Yorkers. Under a fairer system, the budget imposes a temporary personal income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers. Those families earning $300,000 to $500,000 per year will be taxed about 1 percentage point more for a total of 7.85 percent; and those families earning over $500,000 per year will be taxed at 8.97 percent.
“Currently in New York it doesn’t matter if you make $40,000 or $40 million – you pay the same 6.85 percent tax rate. That puts a greater burden on the middle class,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “These modest tax increases for high-income earners – less than 3 percent of New Yorkers – will help provide the dollars necessary for education, health care and other vital services during a very critical fiscal crisis.”
Keeping the sales tax cap on gas
Assemblywoman Barron said that in addition, the state sales tax cap on gasoline will remain, rejecting the executive’s attempt to remove it. This will save New Yorkers about $120 million annually and help keep gas prices in check.
“Our hardworking families can’t afford to be overburdened with taxes on necessities like clothing and footwear, and they shouldn’t be aggressively taxed for going to the movies, downloading music, watching cable television or buying gas,” Assemblywoman Barron said. “The last thing we should be doing right now – in the middle of a recession – is making it more difficult for working families and seniors who are having a tough time balancing their own budgets.”