Plan To Cut Middle Class Taxes Needs Support

The budget proposals from New York’s Senate and Assembly contain numerous divisive issues. From differing paid family leave proposals, to the Assembly’s wish to boost the minimum wage to $15, lawmakers have plenty of details to consider prior to passing an on-time budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature will hopefully manage to agree on at least one common sense proposal in the coming weeks. The Senate’s plan to cut middle class taxes needs support across the aisle for the sake of overburdened employers and employees statewide.

The “25 by 25” plan would slash personal income tax rates by 25 percent for those with moderate incomes and small businesses by 2025. The middle class rate would fall from the current 6.45 percent to just over 5 percent when fully implemented, saving the average taxpayer about $900 annually. Workers earning between $20,000 and $150,000; heads of households making $30,000-$225,000; and married couples with joint incomes of $40,000-$300,000 would qualify.

The Senate’s one-house budget offers relief for small businesses, farms and seniors, while protecting the STAR program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hoped to cap STAR and Enhanced STAR benefits at their current rate while changing the benefit from an upfront rebate to an income tax exemption. Senators – including Cathy Young – rightfully rejected the governor’s plan. The Senate budget would permanently extend the property tax cap, providing further savings for homeowners.

New York lawmakers need to stand up for the middle class while they still can. If legislators cut the Senate’s tax relief plan from the budget, middle income earners will suffer another blow. With massive minimum wage hikes still on the table, the Empire State continues to place the middle class way of life in the line of fire. A spike to $15 will cost New Yorkers jobs and harm businesses beyond repair.

Tax relief won’t fix many of the state’s problems, but it would at least slow the bleeding of the long-suffering middle class.