December 2013


December 23, 2013                                                                                 


            I applaud the recent enactment of a bill I multi-sponsored to increase property tax assistance for veterans. Assembly bill 565, recently signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, expands existing property tax exemptions by authorizing localities to exclude veterans from school taxes.  As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee throughout my time in the Assembly, find this exemption as one of many ways for New York to thank its veterans.

            The sacrifices of our courageous veterans must be recognized, and this bill will express our gratitude by providing well-deserved property tax relief to these brave men and women. This legislation is an example of how our commitment to supporting our veterans must be a year-round focus, and I am hopeful that these savings will serve as a token of New York’s thanks to our heroes in the armed services.

December 11, 2013                                                                                 


            Recently the New York State Tax Relief Commission released a report. I find both bright spots and holes in their suggestions. Several of the recommended actions would deliver real savings for taxpayers, but certain measures must be expanded or added.  

            Many of the commission’s suggestions would be extremely beneficial for New York’s families and job-creators, with reductions in business and estate taxes delivering the kind of savings New Yorkers desperately need. Yet, the report could be improved in key areas, like instituting a full, immediate repeal of the utility tax surcharge, as legislation I sponsor would accomplish. If we are truly serious about tax relief, we need to address unfunded mandates like the state’s unconscionable Medicaid burden, which drive up our taxes year after year. I would be ecstatic to act on many of the proposals in this report, but it is only a starting point for a long-overdue discussion on making New York more affordable for our families and businesses.

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