2018 Affordability Agenda Promoted by Senators
The New York State Senate Majority, led by Senator Elaine Phillips and
Senator Kemp Hannon today unveiled a broad-based affordability agenda designed to help individuals, families, and seniors continue to live, work, and succeed in New York. Initiatives advanced this year by the Senate will reduce the excessively high taxes and other factors
that make it difficult to live, raise a family, own a home, or retire in New York.
Phillips and Hannon were joined by Senators throughout New York State at the State Capitol for the announcement. Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Whether you are a New Yorker looking to begin a career, a young family working hard to make ends
meet, or an older New Yorker looking to stay in your community, our state’s
high cost of living is forcing thousands of New Yorkers to flee to other
parts of the country.
The Senate Majority is taking action to stop this outmigration and make our state more affordable by delivering $4.2 billion in middle class income tax cuts this year, proposing hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax relief, and ensuring long-term fiscal responsibility
“This is an agenda that working families and seniors need to help make New York affordable,” said Senator Elaine Phillips adding, “when I speak to families in the community, they share with me their struggles during these challenging economic times. It’s our job to level the playing field and help them wherever we can. This is just a first step, but it’s an important one. Our focus has to be on doing all we can to bring meaningful and sustainable tax relief. It’s as simple as that.”
The Senate is advancing a three-pronged “Blueprint for a Stronger New
York” that focuses on making the state less costly and more attractive for
hardworking New Yorkers. When combined together, the Senate’s
Affordability, Opportunity, and Security agendas comprise a powerful and
comprehensive plan to give all New Yorkers the opportunity to succeed.
The Senate announcement details the first part: an Affordability Agenda
that focuses on broad-based tax relief for families and seniors.
The Affordability blueprint includes:
· Lower Income Taxes
· Lower Property Taxes
· Lower Energy Taxes
· Lower Taxes on Retirement
· Reforms to Control Spending and Prevent Tax Increases
Lower Income Taxes:
The start of the new year means millions of taxpayers will begin to
see significant savings delivered as part of the Senate Majority’s Middle
Class Income Tax Cut. Tax relief will ultimately reach $4.2 billion a year
and reduce middle class tax rates by 20 percent for employees and tens of
thousands of small businesses.
The Senate Majority Conference will also advance measures to help all
New Yorkers negatively impacted by Federal income tax changes that were
recently approved in Washington D.C.
Lower Property Taxes For Every Homeowner:
New York is one of the highest taxed states in the nation and high
property taxes are a key factor in the inability of families and seniors to
make ends meet. With the enactment of the Senate Majority’s two-percent
property tax cap in 2011, progress has been made in curtailing soaring tax
growth, but ongoing adherence to the cap is not guaranteed.
The Senate will be acting on legislation that makes the
state’s highly successful property tax cap permanent. Since it was enacted,
taxpayers have already saved $23 billion and to cement those gains for
current and future taxpayers, it must be made permanent this year.
In 2018, 2.5 million residents will receive nearly $1 billion in
property tax rebate checks – over and above the tax relief already provided
by the STAR program. The Senate Majority secured the checks in 2015 and
will make it a priority to prevent any diminishing or eliminating of those
rebate checks in this year’s state budget.
In addition, the Affordability Agenda proposes a 25-percent increase
in the size of the current property tax rebate checks. These checks
currently provide direct, much-needed relief through checks in the mail to
homeowners and increasing their amount will help further ease the local tax
Many seniors on fixed incomes face a particularly difficult challenge
affording New York’s high taxes. To help alleviate this financial pressure
and prevent older New Yorkers from being forced to move to lower-taxing
states, the Senate Majority will propose a new freeze on school property
taxes at current levels for seniors. In addition, the Senate will go one
step further and propose completely eliminating school property taxes for
seniors over the next ten years.
Lower Energy Taxes - $280 Million in New Tax Relief:
New York has some of the highest energy costs in the nation, and
state taxes on energy impose a major expense on millions of families and
seniors. To provide relief to overburdened taxpayers, the Senate Majority
plan would eliminate the two-percent Gross Receipts Tax on utility bills,
resulting in $190 million in savings.
The energy tax savings would also expand upon the energy savings
achieved when the Senate Majority phased out the onerous 18-A energy tax
surcharge enacted by New York City legislators several years ago. Now that
the surcharge has been eliminated, the Senate Majority’s Affordability plan
would go even further by eliminating the base, underlying 18-A assessment
tax and have the $90 million in savings come from the state’s general fund.
Lower Taxes on Retirement - $275 Million in New Tax Relief:
Each year, thousands of older New Yorkers leave their communities and
move to other states because of the taxation of a large portion of retiree
pension income. The Senate Majority proposes to help reverse this trend by
doubling the current exemption on pension income and save seniors $275
million. This initiative, combined with the property tax reductions
proposed above, would make New York more affordable for more seniors.
Reforms to Control Spending and Prevent Tax Increases:
Later today, the Senate will also be acting on legislation that
enacts a permanent two-percent spending cap into state law. For the last
seven years, the Senate Majority has held spending within a two-percent
cap, saving a cumulative $41 billion. To protect New Yorkers from future
tax increases, the state must enact a permanent spending cap to ensure
families and businesses can afford to be located in New York for years to
Similar to last year’s successful rejection of hundreds of millions
of dollars in new taxes and fees proposed by the Governor, the Senate
Majority will advance a 2018-19 budget proposal that includes no new taxes
To further hold the state accountable and prevent unnecessary
taxation, the Senate Majority will put forward a measure that requires a
supermajority vote on state legislation that increase taxes and address the
mandates that drive up local taxes. The Senate will also propose a
constitutional amendment to ban unfunded mandates and further pursue
property tax relief through the significant reductions of existing mandates.
The Blueprint for a Stronger New York will build on that successful
record and provide a sensible approach to lowering taxes and creating
better opportunities for all New Yorkers during the 2018 session and
upcoming budget negotiations.