Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) is encouraged to see Gov. Cuomo include tax relief for small-business owners in his 2016 agenda. The governor is proposing a 15 percent Personal Income Tax (PIT) exemption and a reduction in the net income tax rate from 6.5 to 4 percent for small businesses. Similar relief was proposed in the Small Business Full Employment Act (A.5898), which Fitzpatrick sponsors, with many other proposals to ease the tax and regulatory burden. Fitzpatrick notes two areas in which the governor’s efforts will hurt jobs – an aggressive push for a $15 minimum wage increase and a lack of unfunded mandate relief.
“I’m pleased to see the governor is on the same page with me and my Minority colleagues, who have long been calling for tax relief in our state, especially for small businesses, which provide 43 percent of the private-sector jobs here,” said Fitzpatrick. “This is an important step to take to support small business; however, the governor’s efforts to push a steep $15 minimum wage increase and ignore unfunded mandate relief, which is the driver of property tax increases, work against our efforts to make the state more employer-friendly. The governor and Majority in the legislature need to stop pretending these factors won’t sink our efforts to improve the economy.”
Statewide, more than a million small businesses would benefit from the tax relief proposal, 191,632 from Long Island. While Fitzpatrick is encouraged the governor is supporting the PIT exemption and the reduction in the income tax rate, he is concerned about Cuomo’s aggressive push for a $15 minimum wage. According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, it is estimated that at least 200,000 jobs could be lost statewide, with a possibility of more than 22,000 from Long Island alone.
Fitzpatrick has been advocating strongly for unfunded mandate relief for years. These mandates on our local governments and school districts can account for 80 percent of some local budgets. Fitzpatrick sponsors a bill (A.2701) which would address the most pressing mandates by capping binding arbitration awards at two percent, requiring newly-hired employees to participate in the same defined contribution retirement plan utilized by the State University of New York (SUNY), and modifying the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law (the state law governing public employment) by suspending automatic pay increases, known as step increases, when a labor contract expires.