Senator Parker Offers Property Tax Relief For Seniors And Working Families

Kevin S. Parker

January 29, 2007

          Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) today said two property tax measures introduced by Senate Minority would have targeted tax relief to those who need it most -- primarily senior citizens and middle-class working families who have been hit hardest by skyrocketing property taxes.

         The measures had been offered as amendments to a proposal offered by the Senate Majority (S.1-A). Unfortunately, the Senate’s  Majority rejected both amendments.

         "We can’t move this state forward until we first address the barriers before it, and one of the biggest is crushing property taxes that are forcing many New Yorkers to sell their homes and move out of state," said Senator Parker. "The amendments offered by my colleagues would have made property taxes more equitable, and would have given seniors and middle-class New Yorkers the tax relief they need right now. That the Senate Majority shot down these proposals illustrates yet again their desire to maintain the same failed policies of the past."

        Senator Parker said the amendments, if enacted, would have addressed at least some of the inequities in the State's property tax system. Specifically, one amendment would have expanded the Real Property Tax Credit for seniors, which overcomes the regressive nature of property taxes by increasing the maximum credit amount for senior citizens from $375 to $1,125. This credit, which has not been increased for more than 30 years, would have also been raised for all other qualifying New Yorkers from $75 to $225.

        A second amendment would have expanded the personal income tax credit -- currently allowed only to New York City renters -- to the entire state, thus providing immediate tax relief to renters in suburban areas like Westchester County and Long Island, where property tax hikes have dramatically driven up rental costs. Over one million families statewide who rent their housing would be helped by this proposal, as would more than 500,000 seniors.

        "These proposals are sound and address the fundamental issue of fairness regarding the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who work hard, play by the rules, and make enormous sacrifices to make ends meet," said Senator Parker. "I applaud my colleagues for standing up for all New Yorkers who do the everyday heavy lifting by saying, ‘Let’s lighten their load.’"

         Senator Parker said the Senate Minority proposals are but one facet of an ongoing effort to bring fiscal relief to all New Yorkers. The Brooklyn lawmaker said his colleagues have discussed a number of other tax relief strategies.

          "New Yorkers are overtaxed, overburdened and underappreciated. We cannot afford to continue the old ways of irresponsible spending and asking taxpayers to foot the bill without offering something in return," he said. "Senate Minority Conference Members are going to continue bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives to the table because New Yorkers deserve it. I am deeply disappointed that the Senate Majority has chosen to ignore the needs of our seniors and middle-class working families."