Tax Cuts--the Untold Story

William T. Stachowski

July 20, 2006

The truth must be told. New York State has cut more taxes in the last 12 years than any other state in the nation and more is on the way. What?, taxes in New York are decreasing? My answer to this is simple--YES. State taxes on both residents and businesses, combined have been slashed by over $120 billion. What most people are upset with are their school property taxes, which are outside the control of the State Legislature as these budgets are drafted by their local School Boards and passed by their residents. However, these property tax increases have been lessened by annual increases in state aid that have been secured every year by our western New York Legislative Delegation.

The adoption of this year’s adopted state budget saw an additional $4.1 billion in new tax cuts. Our citizens are demanding tax relief and the State Senate fought very hard to continue lessening the tax burden on our residents. Unfortunately, tax reductions that have occurred over the past several years have not been well publicized and have not been heard or discussed in the daily press. Don’t get me wrong--more tax cutting is necessary and I am focused on continuing to reduce taxes and costs associated with government programs that are often the target of what is wrong with our state. However, let me reiterate the facts--New York State, since George Pataki has been Governor, has passed more tax cuts than any state in the Union ever has, and more are on the way.

The 2006-07 New York State Budget included over $4.1 billion in new tax cuts over the next two years that will return money to New York’s hardworking families and help make New York more economically competitive. The tax cuts include direct school property tax rebate checks to homeowners, new tax credits to parents of school age children and the elimination of onerous taxes like the state sales tax on clothing and shoes and the marriage income tax penalty.

The Property Tax Relief initiative, a $1 billion annual program, will send checks directly to homeowners. It is your money, and there is no reason why you should not get it back. Additionally, taxpayers will save additional money with the newly created Empire State Child Credit that will provide a $330 per child tax break to parents of school age children (ages four to sixteen). The $600 million plan is based on a tax credit currently allowed at the federal level.

This year, we also enacted the "Elimination of Income Tax Marriage Penalty." Married taxpayers will save $41 million as a result of an agreement to eliminate the personal income tax marriage penalty. The new guidelines would increase the standard deduction for married taxpayers to $15,000 for joint filers and to $7,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, bringing them in line with single taxpayers. We were also successful in the elimination of sales tax on clothing and shoes that will save you money when you buy clothing and shoes priced under $110 per item. We also included within the adopted state budget a $50 million expansion of Empire Zone tax credits; a $25 million tax credit for volunteer fireman, as well as other tax reductions and credits.

New York State is cutting taxes and making our state more comparable to other states in the nation. Our work is not done, and my commitment is to further expand these tax cuts so that you can keep more of your income and spend or save it as you see fit.