Long Overdue Tax Relief and Reforms for Middle Class Families

ALBANY, 03/04/13 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today joined senate colleagues to unveil the 2013 Family Tax Relief Act, a package of tax relief and reform measures which will provide a major economic boost to New York’s struggling middle class families.

“The Family Tax Relief Act will give middle class families some much-needed breathing room by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Senator Seward.  “The plan takes aim at tax credits and exemptions that are long overdue for reform and provides direct tax relief that will put money back in the pockets of New York’s working class.”

The senate plan would: more than double the value of the Dependent Exemption; increase the Child Tax Credit and provide an additional $500 child tax credit; increase the value of the Dependent Care Credit; and restore STAR property tax rebate checks.

“These exemptions are in dire need of an update.  The current $1,000 value of the dependent exemption was last revised in 1987 when today’s parents of high schoolers were still in school themselves.  Think of what has changed in that time – the price of gasoline was 89-cents-per-gallon, the average car cost just over $10,000, and the price of home ownership was half of what it is today,” Seward added.

For a family with an annual income of $55,000 and two children, the total increase in tax savings would be $1,036. A family making $100,000 a year with two children would have their tax savings increased by $812. A single parent with one child and an income of $45,000 per year would see an increased tax savings of $811 under the senate plan.

“This is also about jobs.  These tax credits will allow families to keep more of their hard-earned money which they can then use to pay their bills and spend on our Main Streets and in our stores, creating jobs and leading to real economic growth,” Seward said.

Along with revising out of date tax credits, the Family Relief Act also restores the STAR Rebate Check Program to provide real and direct relief to millions of New Yorkers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the country.

“I helped initiate the STAR Rebate Check Program in 2006, and have been fighting to reinstate it since its elimination in 2009.  The STAR rebate checks provide real, direct relief for families and senior citizens who struggle to stay in their homes.

“Slow economic times and outdated tax codes are a double whammy for middle class families.  Tack on the federal government’s failure to renew the payroll tax reduction and everyone has to stretch their paycheck that much further. 

“People want to live in New York, own a home, and raise a family here, but the cost to do so forces many to abandon those thoughts.  Leveling the playing field, by bringing tax credits in line with the times and restoring the STAR rebate checks, will provide families with a real economic boost,” Seward concluded.

The Senate Republican Family Tax Relief Act includes the following:

Increase Dependent Exemption

> Increase the Dependent Exemption from $1,000 to $2,020 per dependent; 

> Allow a subtraction from gross income for each dependent the taxpayer claims;

> Dependent Exemption last increased in 1987. 


Increase Dependent Care Credit

> The Dependent Care Credit, which is a percentage of the federal credit, allows taxpayers a tax credit for the expenses incurred for the care of a child;

> Dependent Care Credit last increased in 1999;

> Our plan will increase the percentage range of the federal child care credit that parents can receive, from 20 percent to 110 percent (depending on income), to 27 percent to 150 percent of the federal child care credit.


Increase Child Tax Credit

> Increase the maximum Child Tax Credit from $330 to $375 to adjust for inflation;  

> Child Tax Credit last amended in 2006;

> Our plan increases the Child Tax Credit from 33 percent of the federal child tax credit to 37.5 percent; 

> In New York State,  married-joint filers with income less than $130,000 (federal), who have a child that is between the ages of 4 and 16, can receive the credit; 

> Provide an additional $500 Child Tax Credit per family. 


Restore STAR Property Tax Rebate Checks 

>  Restore STAR Rebate Check Program to provide an estimated additional $1.3 billion in tax relief; This will provide real and direct relief to millions of people across the state, including seniors and middle class families.