Tax Credits, Increase In Minimum Wage; Highlight New Laws To Take Effect January 1

 

Tax credits and reductions that will save New York families and businesses almost $1 billion, an increase in the minimum wage, and procedures to cut down on Medicaid fraud highlight the list of new state laws that will take effect on January 1, 2007.

Empire State Child Tax Credit

In 2007, a taxpayer will be allowed a personal income tax credit equal to one-third of the federal child tax credit for children between the ages of four and seventeen, saving New York parents $600 million in 2007.

Eliminate the Marriage Penalty

Beginning in 2007, married taxpayers will see an increase in their standard deduction to $15,000 for joint filers and $7,500 for separate filers, eliminating the "marriage penalty." This tax reduction will save married taxpayers $41 million in 2007.

Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Personnel

There are approximately 130,000 volunteer firefighter and emergency personnel in New York. Many counties in the state offer a partial exemption against their property taxes for service in these volunteer fire departments. In order to encourage more New York residents to join their local volunteer fire departments, the Legislature provided a $200 personal income tax credit for volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel not receiving the local property tax exemption, saving them $26 million.

Commercials Tax Credit

On January 1, 2007, New York State will enact a $7 million tax credit pool, without sunset, allocated to qualified production companies filming or recording radio commercials in New York. The value of the program is divided between commercial activity growth, downstate jobs, and upstate jobs credits.

Increase in the Minimum Wage

On January 1, 2007, the minimum wage in New York State will be increased to $7.15 per hour from the existing $6.75 per hour level. In addition the minimum wage rate for tipped food service employees will be increased from $4.35 per hour to $4.60.

The increase in minimum wage is the third and final increase called for by legislation passed in 2004 that was to be phased in over three years.

Medicaid Inspector General

In 2006, the Legislature passed legislation establishing an independent Office of Medicaid Inspector General within the State Department of Health. Effective January 1, 2007, the law directs the Inspector to establish regulations requiring each Medicaid provider to implement Medicaid Provider Compliance Programs, in order to organize provider resources to resolve payment discrepancies and detect inaccurate billings as efficiently as possible, and to impose checks and balances on the system to prevent future recurrences.

Laws scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2007, in order of year of enactment and chapter number.

2006 Laws

Chapter 42, L. 2006, §2 (S. 5811-A, Hannon)

Amends the allocation formula for the net revenues from the hotel/motel tax in Nassau County; increases the portion of revenues to be used for cultural and historic attractions within the County (from 50% to 75%), and decreases the portion of revenues to be used for general obligations of the County (from 50% to 25%).

Chapter 46, L. 2006 (A. 2747, Towns)

Amends provisions granting total tax exemption for property owned by a seriously disabled veteran and used as a primary residence to include premises purchased with funds other than the pecuniary assistance from the federal government specifically provided for in 38 USCA 801.

Chapter 57, L. 2006, Part A, §58, 58-a, 58-b (S. 6457-C, Budget)

As part of the 2006-07 Health and Mental Hygiene Budget, provides for increased Medicaid reimbursement rates for the treatment of medically fragile children.

Chapter 57, L. 2006, Part B, §6-10 (S. 6457-C, Budget)

As part of the 2006-07 Health and Mental Hygiene Budget, revises provisions relating to the reimbursement schedules for the General Public Health Works (Article 6) programs, including increasing county base grants, increasing reimbursement for optional services, and implementing an emergency public health fund to be used at the discretion of the Commissioner of Health.

Chapter 62, L. 2006, Part A (S. 6460-C, Budget)

Establishes the Empire State Child Tax credit, a new personal income tax credit equal to 1/3 of the Federal child tax credit, beginning in 2007, for taxpayers with children aged 4-17 years.

Chapter 62, L. 2006, Part V (S. 6460-C, Budget)

Enacts a new $7 million tax credit pool, without sunset, allocated to qualified production companies filming/recording commercials in the State; divides the value of the program between commercial activity growth, downstate jobs, and upstate jobs credits.

Chapter 62, L. 2006, Part Z (S. 6460-C, Budget)

Mandates the development and publishing of a comprehensive 5-year financial plan for the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund.

Chapter 109, L. 2006, Part C, §21-A (S. 8471, Budget)

As part of the 2006-07 Budget, excludes from coverage under the Medicaid program for individuals who are also eligible for Medicare Part D those drugs that are categorized as "covered Part D drugs" under federal law; specifies, however, that for the purposes of determining Medicaid coverage, the term "covered Part D drugs" does not include atypical anti-psychotics, antidepressants, antiretrovirals used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, or anti-rejection drugs used for treatment relating to organ and tissue transplants.

Chapter 109, L. 2006, Part C, §47 (S. 8471, Budget)

As part of the 2006-07 Budget, revises provisions of the Public Health Law governing the calculation of the operating cost component of reimbursement rates for inpatient services.

Chapter 163, L. 2006 (A. 689-A, Parment)

Requires the seller of real property to inform the purchaser, prior to entering into a contract for sale of such property, of the existence of any uncapped natural gas wells situated on the property of which the seller has actual knowledge.

Chapter 173, L. 2006 (A. 3691, Destito)

Directs the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services to develop and implement a standardized procedure to be used by police and district attorneys to notify victims of crime of their rights and programs designed to assist them.

Chapter 174, L. 2006 (A. 4360-A, Weprin)

Grants multiple owners of property who meet the qualifications for both the senior citizen and disabled person exemptions the option of choosing the one exemption that is most beneficial to such owners.

Chapter 205, L. 2006 (A. 9619, Bradley)

Expands the property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service providers to include school taxes, if adopted by the local school district.

Chapter 234, L. 2006 (A. 10474, Sweeney)

Subjects all fire district resolutions that establish capital reserve funds to a mandatory referendum. Stipulates that expenditures from and transfers between such funds continue to be subject to the same degree of public approval as is currently required.

Chapter 240, L. 2006 (A. 10481-A, Eddington)

Requires fire districts to hold a public budget meeting. Directs all fire districts to hold, on the 3rd Tuesday in October, a public hearing to discuss the contents of its budget. Specifies that such hearings must be conducted and scheduled in a manner that maximizes participation. Sets forth notification requirements.

Chapter 241, L. 2006 (A. 10482, Ramos)

To improve public awareness of fire district proceedings, requires such districts to post notice of upcoming hearings and elections.

Chapter 256, L. 2006 (A. 10854-A, Magee)

Includes lands used in the production of Christmas trees as protected as an agricultural district.

Chapter 272, L. 2006 (A. 11341, Grannis)

Includes roll-your-own tobacco containers within the definition of units sold for the purposes of required payments into tobacco escrow funds; applies to such containers sold on or after January 1, 2007.

Chapter 285, L. 2006 (S. 43, DeFrancisco)

Provides for the disqualification of a parent to a deceased child's estate if the parent abandoned the child or was the subject of a child protective proceeding.

Chapter 291, L. 2006 (S. 2319, Meier)

Exempts from sales tax any military decorations, including ribbons, medals, minimedals, and lapel pins, when sold to a purchaser who is a veteran of the United States and presents proof of his or her veteran status to the vendor in the form of discharge papers or other official documentation, or an active member of the military if the purchaser presents proof or other official documentation of actual military service to the vendor.

Chapter 305, L. 2006 (S. 3820-C, Trunzo)

Authorizes at local option the continuation or reinstatement of a volunteer fire/ambulance worker exemption to an unremarried spouse of a deceased volunteer who had been previously receiving the exemption for such property as a certified member for 20 years or more.

Chapter 319, L. 2006 (S. 6008, Larkin)

Encourages the provision of day care by directing that a parcel used for residential purposes and registered as a family day care home (i.e., provides service for 3 to 8 children for more than 3 hours per day) must be assessed without regard to its use or registration as a family day care home; effective July 26, 2006, but applies to taxable status dates occurring on or after January 1, 2007.

Chapter 392, L. 2006 (S. 7803, Spano)

Provides for an increase in the pilotage fees from or into the Port of New York over a period of three years.

Chapter 442, L. 2006, §4 (S. 8450, Skelos)

As part of a comprehensive new law establishing an independent Office of Medicaid Inspector General within the State Department of Health (which took effect July 26, 2006), directs the Inspector to establish regulations requiring each Medicaid provider to implement Medicaid Provider Compliance Programs, in order to organize provider resources to resolve payment discrepancies and detect inaccurate billings as quickly and efficiently as possible and to impose system checks and balances to prevent future recurrences.

Chapter 452, L. 2006 (S. 3824-C, Volker)

Chapter 552, L. 2006 (S. 8468, Volker)

Establishes certain guidelines for judgment creditors for serving information subpoenas and provides a certification that, if not completed, the subpoena is deemed null and void. Exempts the State and municipalities and their agencies and employees from such provisions.

Chapter 547, L. 2006 (S. 8392, Padavan)

Creates a credit against the personal income tax for the rehabilitation of historic properties and a historic home ownership rehabilitation credit equal to 30% of the federal credit (capped at $100,000) and 20% of qualified expenditures (capped at $25,000), respectively. Effective August 16, 2006, but applies to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2007.

Chapter 551, L. 2006 (S. 8417, Spano)

Enacts much needed reforms to the health insurance claims process in order to ensure fairness, uniformity, and consistency for physicians and health plans without creating overly burdensome and costly obligations on the health plans and without impacting the health plans' reimbursement policies. Includes requiring acceptance of the American Medical Association's CPT codes, reducing the time period for health plans to demand refunds (from 6 years to 24 months), and requiring health plans to act within 90 days to complete credentialing applications submitted by physicians.

Chapter 557, L. 2006 (A. 699-B, Pheffer)

Clarifies the definition of autism spectrum disorders, thus expediting the autism diagnosis process and ensuring that insurance companies will not deny coverage.

Chapter 565, L. 2006 (A. 3072, Hoyt)

Provides for a reduction in federal adjusted gross income for personal income tax purposes for living organ donors and specifies that up to $10,000 may be subtracted from a taxpayer's federal gross income for certain expenses relating to the donation of a human organ. Effective August 16, 2006, but applies to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2007.

Chapter 569, L. 2006 (A. 4135-C, Morelle)

Provides two new 1-page real estate agency disclosure forms (which replace the current statutory form): one for buyer-seller transactions and one for landlord-tenant transactions. Clarifies for consumers the disclosure form regarding real estate agency relationships in residential real property sales and lease transactions. Codifies and provides for uniform written disclosure of designated agency in a dual-agency transaction.

Chapter 572, L. 2006 (A. 5399-A, Abbate)

Excludes media sales representatives (certain sellers of magazine subscriptions or advertising space) from Workers' Compensation coverage under specified conditions (primarily situations wherein the representative is more appropriately considered an independent contractor rather than an employee).

Chapter 611, L. 2006 (A. 10621-A, Colton)

Requires that the use of mercury-added components in motor vehicles be gradually eliminated over a 4-year period; grants a State purchasing preference to motor vehicles that are mercury free.

Chapter 620, L. 2006 (A. 10983, Sweeney)

As part of a measure that requires all volunteer firefighter service award program sponsors or administrators to obtain annual audits by an independent accountant (which takes effect June 30, 2007), directs that such program sponsors make their annual statements of contribution, plan documents, and summaries of such plans available to participants and for public inspection and copying.

Chapter 662, L. 2006 (S. 6316, Winner)

Institutes continuing education requirements for all members of municipal planning and zoning bodies.

Chapter 664, L. 2006 (S. 6541, Skelos)

Authorizes vendors that extend credit to purchasers through a private label credit card to file for a refund of or credit for the sales and compensating use taxes paid on that portion of any such credit card account that is worthless and has been taken as a loss on federal income taxes.

Chapter 677, L. 2006 (S. 6913-A, Balboni)

Requires that State and local disaster preparedness plans provide for the utilization and coordination of programs to assist individuals with household pets and service animals following a disaster, with particular attention to means of evacuation, shelter, and transportation options.

Chapter 730, L. 2006 (S. 8182-A, Marcellino)

Requires wireless telephone service suppliers to accept wireless telephones or ship wireless telephones at no charge to a recycling program.

2005 Laws

Chapter 59, L. 2005, Part F, §2, 4-8 (S. 3669, Rules)

Increases license fees and revises certain licensing provisions for insurance agents and brokers.

Chapter 256, L. 2005, §2 (A. 4742-A, Towns)

In relation to new statutory provisions increasing the maximum income eligibility limits for the alternative veterans real property tax exemption (effective January 2, 2006), requires that tax bills show the full value exemption amount for each taxing purpose.

Chapter 683, §1 (S. 842-B, LaValle)

Establishes new continuing education requirements for landscape architects as a requirement for licensure or license renewal.

2004 Laws

Chapter 747, L. 2004 (A. 11760-A, John)

Increases New York State’s minimum wage from a rate of $6.75 per hour to $7.15 per hour. Also increases the minimum wage rate for tipped food service employees from $4.35 per hour to $4.60 per hour.

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