Special Session Produces Tax Cuts, Job Creation Incentives, Flood Relief

ALBANY, 12/07/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today applauded the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation Plan which helps rejuvenate the upstate economy and includes special state funding to assist flood devastated communities.

“This plan means lower taxes - $690 million worth – for hard-working, middle class New Yorkers, the backbone of our communities. That’s money that will now flow through our local economy and create jobs. At the same time, we are cutting taxes for manufacturers helping them create additional jobs and continue to drive our economy forward,” Seward said.

“Also of great significance, the agreement includes, at my urging, much needed help for communities still recovering from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Many homeowners, farmers and small businesses have been overwhelmed with the monumental task of rebuilding from the devastating storms – government programs have already provided much needed assistance but more is needed.

“This latest grant program will help those in need get back on their feet, and will also assist local governments as they rebuild with an eye toward staving off future disasters."

The Flood Recovery Grant Program includes $50 million in total assistance to provide relief from flood damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Empire State Development (ESD) will administer the program which includes:

• $21 million in grants of up to $20,000 for small businesses, farms and not-for-profits and multiple dwelling housing that sustained direct flood related damage;• $9 million in grants of $300,000 - $500,000 to individual counties for the cost of flood mitigation of local creeks, streams and brooks;• $20 million in local assistance for areas included in the Federal Disaster Declaration for either Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.

Counties that received federal disaster declarations and are eligible for funding include – Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Greene, Herkimer, Otsego, Schoharie, Tompkins and Ulster.

Senator Seward had called for a special session of the legislature to assist flood ravaged communities and is sponsoring several bills that would provide further tax relief to property owners and local governments.

“I have met continually with local officials, toured storm damaged areas and discussed ongoing needs with homeowners, business people and elected officials. The recovery is underway but there is a still a great deal of work ahead. This issue will continue to be one of high priority when the new legislative session begins in January.

“This agreement provides a bridge to 2012 that we need to build on. State spending cuts along with significant mandate relief for local governments and schools and additional incentives for business growth will continue to be my priorities to move our state forward,” Seward concluded.