New property-tax credit included in NY legislators' budget package

Yancey Roy for Newsday

March 13, 2021

Originally published in Newsday on March 13, 2021.

ALBANY — New Yorkers could tap into a modest yet new property-tax credit under a plan the State Legislature is considering.

The proposal creates a "circuit breaker" to provide tax credits on state income taxes. It would kick in if a household’s property taxes are greater than 6% of its adjusted gross income — think a property-tax bill bigger than $6,000 and a $100,000 income; or a property-tax bill larger than $9,000 and a $150,000 income. Credits would be based on a scale to provide the biggest proportionate benefits to lower income households, officials said.

It would provide modest benefits, probably in the hundreds of dollars for most who can qualify, as opposed to thousands of dollars. But it would establish a baseline that could be adjusted in the future, officials said.

The proposal is part of a budget package the state Assembly and Senate each were finalizing Saturday and to be voted on Monday. That will set the parameters for budget negotiations with embattled Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who now is under heavy pressure to resign amid an impeachment inquiry.

Long Island legislators touted the property-tax credit proposal.

"Overly burdensome property taxes are suffocating Long Islanders and we need relief from the state that is meaningful, especially to the families most hard hit," Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said Saturday.

Even with all the political turmoil, lawmakers are supposed to approve a state budget, which could near $200 billion, by April 1.

As Newsday first reported, the proposals the Senate and Assembly were considering would significantly increase school spending — approximately 20% overall — thanks primarily to the influx of federal pandemic aid.

Meanwhile, lawmakers would hike income taxes on those who earn $1 million or more annually and increase taxes on capital gains and estates.

The legislators also want to reject Cuomo’s call for a $200 tuition hike at State University of New York campuses and for a reduction in aid to community colleges. They want to boost the maximum annual tuition grant by $1,000.