Monthly Column: New Senate report out with a focus on cutting taxes

 

By: Michael H. Ranzenhofer

 

This year’s State Budget continued middle-class tax rates at their lowest levels in 60 years, reduced taxes for small businesses under the personal income tax, and cut the corporate tax rate for manufacturers.  These positive initiatives began the process of chipping away at the State’s high tax burden.  New York’s last place finish, measured in business tax climate, needs to change.

 

Improving this ranking is critical to New York’s long-term economic growth.  That is why I am pleased to announce a new State Senate report with a focus on cutting taxes has been released.

 

The report, entitled The Tax Policy Review and Reform Initiative, takes an indepth look at State taxes, in comparison to the other 49 states.  The recommendations were unveiled after input from business leaders and stakeholders during a series of public hearings.  

 

The comprehensive report calls for New York’s personal income taxes, business taxes, and local property taxes to be reformed, simplified and reduced.  

 

The report focuses on cutting taxes for all New Yorkers– small businesses, retirees, families, residents, young professionals, property owners, seniors– at every level, instead of benefiting specific individuals or industries.  

 

The major cornerstone of the plan is a permanent two-percent state spending cap with any surplus funds dedicated to tax reductions. Throughout the last two budget cycles, the State has saved $17 billion dollars by adhering to a self-imposed two percent cap, and it could save an additional $11 billion in the next four years by enacting a spending cap.

 

Highlights of the report’s recommendations include, among other actions:

  • Reduce corporate taxes with the goal of elimination
  • Eliminate the corporate tax on manufacturers
  • Create a simple personal income tax calculation
  • Make inflation adjustments for income brackets permanent so a taxpayer’s burden is not increased simply due to wage growth
  • Eliminate unfair tax treatment by making all retirement income tax-free to encourage seniors to stay in New York
  • Dramatically reform and reduce property taxes to provide relief for hardworking families
  • Accelerate reductions in the 18-a utility tax surcharge in 2016
  • Reform New York’s onerous Estate Tax to protect family farms and small businesses and eliminate the incentive to transfer wealth to other states

 

While I am very supportive of many of these proposals, constituents are welcome to offer their feedback on the recommendations contained in the report.  I encourage residents to review the report by visiting my website, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

 

Overall, the recommendations in the report will help to ensure a brighter, stronger and more prosperous economy for New York State.  As your State Senator, cutting taxes will continue to be a major priority throughout the 2014 Legislative Session. I will be sure to keep you posted on my efforts.

 

Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bee on December 18.