Monthly Column: New State Budget gives all Western New Yorkers the opportunity to succeed!
By: Michael H. Ranzenhofer
By working together in a bi-partisan manner, we’ve just enacted the 2014-15 State Budget. Not only is the budget on-time for the fourth consecutive year, it’s also the fourth consecutive one to reduce taxes. More importantly, this fiscal plan is balanced and responsible.
The new State Budget will help New York to move in the right direction and give all Western New Yorkers the opportunity to succeed!
For homeowners, the final budget will deliver property tax relief in two important ways: $1.5 billion in property tax rebate checks to as many as 2.8 million homeowners, as well as $3.4 billion in funding for the STAR and Enhanced STAR programs. Homeowners’ utility bills will also be lowered by accelerating the phase-out of the 18-a energy tax surcharge.
Businesses will also realize hundreds of millions of dollars in savings due to the accelerated phase-out, but that is only one of the many actions taken to help improve New York’s business climate. The final budget plan will help manufacturers by eliminating the corporate tax rate and creating a new property tax credit. The budget will finally address the State’s burdensome tax code with important tax reforms and simplifications, in order to lower the cost of doing business in New York. Lastly, this budget will reduce the business tax to its lowest rate since 1968.
Each one of these tax relief initiatives are aimed to help attract new businesses and start-ups to Western New York, while strengthening existing companies to help keep them here. Now, New York’s private-sector companies will be better positioned, than ever before, to invest, grow and create jobs.
The new State Budget will deliver real results for seniors too! The fiscal plan will expand EPIC, a low-cost prescription drug plan, to cover an additional 25,000 seniors. It will also allocate additional money for Community Services for the Elderly Program. These programs will benefit current seniors, as well as retirees of the future.
Last but not least, the 2014-15 State Budget will help our local school districts by making steady and significant progress in addressing the damage caused by the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The GEA is a controversial budget maneuver, which I opposed when it was enacted in 2010, that has resulted in billions of dollars being unfairly taken away from our kids’ school districts.
The new budget will provide school districts with more funding to help diminish the GEA’s negative impact on many of our local schools. I will continue to advocate for further GEA reduction until it is abolished completely.
From seniors to small businesses, I think the new State Budget is positive for Western New Yorkers. To learn more about the important highlights of new State Budget and how it’ll impact you and your family, I encourage you to visit my website at ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.
Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bee on April 16th.