Senate GOP floats tax relief package

New York state Senate Republicans want to pass a bill they say would provide financial relief for New York families.

Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and her GOP colleagues proposed the 2013 Family Tax Relief Act this week. The bill would increase current child credits for income taxes, boost the state’s dependent exemption for income taxes and restore funding for the STAR rebate check for property taxes, Little explained in a press release.

She told the Enterprise that average New York families are “getting hit from all sides.

“You have the high price of gasoline, and in our areas you need a car for just about everything you do, whether it’s medical, education, work, recreation – everything,” Little said. “And then you have the payroll tax that came back on everyone, so now they’re paying that. And the STAR tax (rebate), which helps with school taxes, has just continued to decrease.”

For a family earning $55,000 with two children, Little said the bill could reduce taxes by about $1,000. A single parent with one child and an income of $45,000 would see an $800 reduction in taxes.

The bill would also increase the dependent exemption from $1,000 to $2,020 for New York income tax. Little said the exemption hasn’t been increased since 1987.

Senate Republicans also want to increase the dependent care credit, which hasn’t changed since 1999. They also want to increase the maximum child tax credit from $330 to $375, adjusting for inflation, Little said.

Finally, the proposal aims to restore $1.3 billion for the STAR Rebate Check Program, which was eliminated nearly four years ago.

“We had the regular STAR, and then we had the STAR Rebate checks that you used to get in the mail that would help with your school property taxes,” Little said.

Little said she’s not sure whether she’ll get support for the entire proposal, but she thinks parts of it will be approved. A companion bill hasn’t been introduced in the Assembly.

“It’s pretty much a conference position,” Little said. “Right now, we have a number of committees who are working on the one-house Senate budget to address the issues in the governor’s budget that we think should be changed, or things that we think need to be added to it.

“These are things we would like to get into it. When we go to conference committees, then we work with the Assembly. And they have ideas of what they want to do with the governor’s budget, and then we have to come to a compromise.”

Little said she’s also pushing for passage of a circuit breaker bill. Under that proposal, a taxpayer making $50,000 who pays more than 6 percent of their income toward school taxes would receive help from the state. The percentage would be adjusted based on yearly incomes, Little said.

“It’s for people whose homes have increased in value and yet their incomes haven’t,” she said. “So their school property tax is taking up a bigger and bigger percentage of their income each year.”

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or