January 24, 2014

Editorial: New state laws: know your rights

With a new year comes new state laws.

The changes for 2014 include a number of tax breaks, the advent of legalized casino gambling off of Indian land and an increase in the minimum wage.

All of those issues stirred controversy during 2013, with proponents lauding the prospect of economic gain and opponents decrying the potential harm.

People in this region will not reap direct benefits from the casino law because none of the gaming facilities will be located in Clinton, Essex or Franklin counties, so as not to present competition for Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg.

But hopes were raised about new development on or near the State University of New York campuses in Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga because of the tax breaks offered in the Start Up NY initiative.

The minimum-wage law was hotly debated, with businesses concerned about the cost and advocates for low-wage workers pushing for a bigger increase.

We thought it would be worthwhile to enumerate a few of the new laws premiering in New York state this year. Here’s a look at some of the changes, as provided by a State Senate news release:

Legalized Casino Gaming: A voter-approved constitutional amendment legalized casino gaming in New York and allows establishment of four destination gaming resorts.

Start Up NY: Creates tax-free areas around the state’s colleges and universities. Businesses will be exempt from corporate, personal-income, sales, use and property taxes for 10 years. They aren’t eligible if they compete with existing community businesses that are not within the tax-free area.

Minimum Wage Increase and Reimbursement Tax Credit: The minimum wage increased from $7.25 an hour to $8. A new tax credit will offset some of the increased costs for businesses.

Small-Business Income-Tax Reduction: A $35 million tax reduction, part one of a three-year tax-cut phase-in.

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