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December 11, 2013

State Tax Relief Commission report yields ideas

Local, state leaders hope proposals can help individuals, businesses

PLATTSBURGH — The State Tax Relief Commission’s final report offers several measures that could benefit North Country residents, including a two-year tax freeze.

“Taxes are crushing all New Yorkers, and any legitimate tax relief in any form by the governor will be much appreciated,” City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Tax Relief Commission report was issued Tuesday. 

5 KEY POINTS

Chaired by former Gov. George E. Pataki and former Comptroller H. Carl McCall, the commission offered five key recommendations for lowering the tax burden on individuals and businesses and helping to spur economic growth.

▶ A two-year freeze on property taxes for homeowners in municipalities that meet the state’s 2 percent tax cap.

The state would provide a tax rebate equal to the amount of the increase in a homeowner’s tax bill, which would effectively freeze taxes for them at their 2014 levels for two years.

▶ A program that would target real-property tax relief based on an individual homeowner’s ability to pay.

Given that tax burdens decrease as income rises, a relief program could be structured to provide a greater proportion of benefits to those with the highest burdens as a share of their income, the report said.

This idea is also known as a “property-tax circuit breaker.”

▶ Tax relief for businesses in the form of combining the corporate-franchise and banking-franchise taxes and lowering the corporate income-tax rate from 7.1 to 6.5 percent.

▶ Accelerate the elimination of a utility surcharge.

The 18-A surcharge is slated to be phased out by 2018, but the commission recommends it be taken out now.

The surcharge can amount to as much as $30,000 per year for some large businesses, up to $540 for small businesses and up to $55 per year for individuals.

▶ Reform estate taxes.

The plan would reduce the top estate tax from 16 to 10 percent.

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