Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Monday, June 19, 2006

Assembly Minority Members Challenge Majority "Tax"
Chairman To Put Taxpayers' Money Where His Mouth Is
Call for passage of five key tax cuts to help families, businesses before legislative session ends

Assembly Minority members today called on Assemblyman Denny Farrell (D-Manhattan), Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, to help pass five key tax cuts before the 2006 Legislative Session officially ends this Thursday, June 22nd.

After first saying on June 7th that tax cuts were not a high priority for Majority members, a few hours later he stated that he "misspoke" and that tax cuts were indeed a high priority. The Minority members say they want action to back up the talk.

"The Majority leadership finally admits they see no problem with high taxes and runaway spending, but then they change their minds later in the day after the political fallout? Which is it? We're going to give them a chance to prove themselves one way or the other," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga.) "They now say they're for tax cuts. Well, let's cut some taxes. There are plenty to choose from."

Tedisco said Farrell's comments came, oddly enough, one day after New York State received the unflattering distinction of being named by the Public Policy Institute as the highest taxed state in the nation - 53 percent above the national average.

"They just don't get it," said Tedisco.

The Minority members said they were asking for Farrell to live up to his pledge and help pass the following tax-cut measures they are putting forward today to help families and businesses:

  • A $400 million Personal Income Tax reduction. Currently, the top personal income tax rate of 6.85 percent is reached by married individuals filing joint returns if their income is $40,000 or higher. This bill would reduce the tax rate to 6.75 percent and would increase the top income bracket to $60,000. Furthermore, this bill would increase the top income brackets for heads of households, individuals and married individuals filing separately (A.9560-A).

  • STAR Excelsior would provide $1.75 billion in additional tax relief by immediately indexing the Basic and Enhanced STAR exemptions to the current median housing values throughout the state (A.9465).

  • A Co-Star program, which would provide $285 million in county property tax rebates to senior citizens and farmers. The exemption would be available to senior citizens who are currently eligible for Enhanced STAR exemptions and to farmers who are currently eligible to receive the Basic STAR exemption (A.9389B).

  • Eliminate the Corporate Franchise Tax on Manufacturers, saving manufacturers more than $500 million annually. Many incentive programs are aimed at attracting new businesses to New York State, and ignore existing manufacturing businesses, which could benefit tremendously from legislation that boosts growth in this vital industry (A10055).

  • A Corporate Franchise Tax credit equal to 15 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums paid by small businesses for their employees, saving small businesses $1.6 billion and providing quality health care for thousands of New Yorkers (A.9390).

Assemblyman James Hayes (R-Amherst), Farrell's counterpart on the Ways and Means Committee said, "We know that taxes are really hurting families and businesses in Western New York and across the state. People and businesses are fleeing the state. These tax cuts we propose represent real relief to New York State's families, seniors, farmers, manufacturers and small businesses. All too often our friends on the other side of the aisle will react to such measures by saying, 'how can we afford this?' The real question is 'can we afford not to do this?' It's the taxpayers' money."

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