Little, Senate GOP colleagues propose tax reform for 2014

ALBANY – State Sen. Betty Little and her Republican colleagues announced on Tuesday numerous proposals to reduce taxes and simplify New York’s tax code.

The report, developed based on testimony collected through a series of statewide hearings this fall, includes a permanent 2 percent cap on state spending growth, with every dollar of surplus savings dedicated to tax reduction. The proposal would also create an optional simple personal income tax calculation, eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax and reduce property taxes with a “circuit breaker” system.

The plan also proposes encouraging seniors to remain in New York by making all retirement income tax free. Currently, only federal, state and local pension income is completely tax free.

According to a press release, the Senate Republican proposal would amend New York’s estate tax by conforming it to the Federal Job Creation Act and the American Taxpayer Relief Act to protect family farms and small businesses, thus eliminating an incentive to transfer wealth from New York to other states.

“Helping small businesses by simplifying the tax code and providing broad-based tax relief is what’s needed to spur our economy in the North Country,” Little said in the press release. “Everyone agrees that our economy needs help. The most effective way to do that is by helping those that generate revenue and create jobs.”

The report also would replace New York’s current approach to tax relief, which involves providing tax credits to specific industries, with a system that produces a lower tax structure for all businesses.

Little’s circuit breaker, meanwhile, would offer property tax relief to taxpayers whose property taxes exceed a certain percentage of their income. The state would pay the school, municipal or county tax that exceeds a property owner’s circuit-breaker cap.