Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in
October that the New York State Tax Relief
Commission will identify ways to reduce the
state’s property and business taxes by Dec. 6.
The commission’s recommendations are due
in December so they can be included in the
governor’s 2014 State of the State message.
Officials said the governor’s actions recognize
that New York has been viewed as a
high-tax state for too many years, hurting its
competitiveness and driving businesses and
families from the state.
“The responsible budgets and fiscal reforms put in place over the last three years have put the state in a position to seriously tackle the ‘tax capital’ mentality that for too long has driven businesses and families from New York,” Cuomo said. “The new Tax Relief Commission includes two of our state’s most respected leaders, former Gov. Pataki and former Comptroller Carl McCall, as well as other highly-qualified New Yorkers who will examine new ways that we can reduce the burdensome taxes facing our businesses and our families, and by doing so make our state more competitive and fuel economic growth.”
Cuomo said the recommendations will help form measures in next year’s legislative agenda to help bring further relief to New York’s taxpayers.
The Tax Relief Commission is in addition to Cuomo’s efforts to streamline New York’s tax code to make the state more affordable and competitive, ultimately creating jobs and helping grow the economy, according to the governor’s office.
The new Tax Relief Commission will collaborate with the Tax Reform and Fairness Commission, launched last December to conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s taxation policy, including corporate, sales and personal income taxation and make recommendations to improve and simplify the current tax system, officials said.
According to the governor, the formation of the Tax Relief Commission is enabled by three years of fiscal integrity and responsible budgeting that puts the state in a position to examine new ways to provide tax relief to New Yorkers. Cuomo said actions taken over the past three years to restore fiscal integrity to the budget process include: Three budgets that held state spending to 2 percent or below; the elimination of automatic inflators that previously accounted for unsustainable increases in Medicaid and education spending; Tier VI pension reform that will save taxpayers an estimated $80 billion over the next 30 years; a state labor force reduced from 137,000 to 120,000; and three “responsible” state labor contracts that will save taxpayers $450 million.
Building on these fiscal reforms, the governor is charging the Tax Relief Commission with identifying new strategies to deliver tax relief to homeowners, renters, and businesses.
The commission’s recommendations may include additional property tax relief, business tax relief proposals to encourage job creation and economic growth, as well as other ideas to reduce the tax burden on families and businesses that will make New York state more competitive with other states, the governor’s office said.
McCall, commission co-chairman, said high taxes “are one of the most challenging issues facing economic growth in New York. But as a former state comptroller, I can say that New York is in the best fiscal shape it has been in in years because of the governor’s constant efforts to control spending and bring jobs to New York. This commission has the opportunity to build on that success to lower taxes for middle class and working families.”
Pataki, co-chairman of the Tax Relief Commission, said, “growing the economy and promoting a business climate that encourages job creation is one of the most important roles government can play. During the last few years in Albany, Gov. Cuomo has demonstrated that when elected officials put politics aside and work together they can deliver results for the people of this state. In that vein, he has assembled a diverse panel that will work together toward a common goal: lowering taxes for New Yorkers in order to grow and develop our economy.”
The members of the commission also include Dall Forsythe, former state budget director; Jim Wetzler, director, Deloite Tax LLP and former state tax commissioner; Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of New York State Business Council; Bill Rudin, CEO and vice chairman of Rudin Management Co. and chairman of the Association for a Better New York; Jack Quinn, president of Erie Community College; Denis M. Hughes, senior advisor at Brown & Weintraub, PLLC.