Albany, NY - October 2, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Tax Relief Commission that will identify way to reduce the State’s property and business taxes to provide relief to New York’s homeowners and businesses. The Commission’s recommendations for tax relief build off of three years of responsible budgeting, including holding state spending to 2%, ending automatic budget inflators in Medicaid and education spending, pension reform that will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, and a downsized state labor force. The Commission’s recommendations will be due by December 6, 2013 for inclusion in the Governor’s 2014 State of the State message.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “The new Tax Relief Commission includes two of our state’s most respected leaders, former Governor Pataki and 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. I look forward to receiving the Commission’s recommendations this December so we can include 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 the Governor’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. 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.
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. Actions taken over the past three years to restore fiscal integrity to the budget process include:
- 3 budgets that held state spending to 2% 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 thirty years;
- A state labor force reduced from 137,000 to 120,000;
- 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 alike. The Tax Relief 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 actions recognize that New York has been viewed as a high tax state for too many years, hurting the state’s competitiveness and driving businesses and families from the state. Governor Cuomo’s work to reverse the “tax capital” mentality began in his first year in office by passing the state’s first ever property tax cap. Additional tax relief measures include a tax cut that brings middle class tax rates to their lowest level in 62 years, a $350 tax credit for working families, and the START-UP NY initiative to create zero-tax communities on SUNY campuses to attract start-ups and new businesses to the state.
Chairman Carl McCall, Co-Chair of the Tax Relief Commission, 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. It is a privilege to be a part of this process as Democrats and Republicans work together to grow the state’s economy through a cooperative approach.”
Governor George Pataki, Co-Chair 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, Governor 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 towards a common goal: lowering taxes for New Yorkers in order to grow and develop our economy. I am proud to be part of that group and look forward to working with all my colleagues on the commission.”
The new Commission will be co-chaired by former Governor George Pataki and Chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees and former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall.
The members of the Tax Relief Commission include:
- George Pataki, former Governor of New York State
- H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees
- Dall Forsythe, former New York State Budget Director
- Jim Wetzler, Director, Deloite Tax LLP and former New York State Tax Commissioner
- Heather Briccetti, President & CEO of New York State Business Council
- Bill Rudin, CEO and Vice Chairman of Rudin Management Company and Chairman of the Association for a Better New York
- Jack Quinn, President of Erie Community College
- Denis M. Hughes, Senior Advisor at Brown & Weinraub, PLLC
The Commission will issue a report on its findings and recommendations by December 6, 2013 for inclusion in the Governor’s 2014 State of the State agenda.