Senator Bruno plans next big steps in reducing New York's business taxes

Leaders agree on sales-tax holiday; Senate will seek $500 million tax-cut package

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, who has championed major tax reductions in each of the past four years, said his conference will push for $500 million in broad-based tax reductions for businesses in 1998.

The Senate package, worth $1billion annually in later years, would include reducing the state's broad-based business taxes, as well as the alternative minimum tax on corporations, to encourage more investment and job creation in New York.

State leaders were also said to be considering speeding up tax cuts, enacted earlier this year, that are now scheduled to take effect in 1999 and beyond. And Governor Pataki and legislative leaders announced agreement on an additional week's elimination of the state sales tax on clothing, to be held in January.

The Senate plan was also expected to include expanding the state's JOBS NOW program of financial incentives for major new business projects - a program created in 1996 at the urging of Senator Bruno - and reducing the highway use tax.

Senator Bruno told The Associated Press that tax cuts and incentives for new businesses are major factors in the state's continuing economic resurgence.

"It's working," he said. "Let's keep it going and let's keep making ourselves more and more competitive."

Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh wrote Governor Pataki, Senator Bruno and Assembly Speaker Silver last month, asking them to work for more tax cuts. Reducing the alternative minimum tax, speeding up already enacted tax cuts, and cutting the highway use tax were among the proposals in Walsh's letters to the leaders.

Senator Bruno told The AP he will also seek to reduce motor vehicle registration fees, provide property tax relief and increase the state tax credit for child-care costs.

The 1997 state budget enacted earlier this year includes some $2 billion in new tax reductions - eliminating New York's extra estate tax, reducing the gross receipts tax on utility customers, repealing a tax on hospital and nursing home bills, reducing life insurance taxes, repealing the state sales tax on clothing and making other reforms. Taxpayers will start receiving the bulk of those savings in 1999 and following years. Senator Bruno's proposal would more than double the level of new tax reduction scheduled to take effect in 1998.

Governor Pataki, Senator Bruno and Speaker Silver announced they will enact in early January new legislation to lift the state sales tax on clothing purchases of $500 or less during the week of January 17-23.

"It's something that's important to help middle-class families working to make ends meet," Speaker Silver said, adding: "This has proven to be a healthy boost to business."

The Governor said recently he expects to end the current fiscal year with a surplus of $1 billion or more.

State revenues are higher than expected, thanks to continuing economic growth and a strong year on Wall Street, while the Pataki Administration has continued to keep a careful eye on spending.

December 12, 1997