March 5, 1998
Businesses, chambers join groundswell of support for major tax cuts this year
Letters, testimony, legislative memos add to the momentum; the Assembly joins the call
Businesses, chambers of commerce and economic developers across the state are generating a groundswell of support for major new tax cuts this year.
The momentum for business tax cuts is focused on a major tax-reduction package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. This package would cut business taxes by about $1 billion over four years, including a corporate income tax rate reduction from 9 to 6.85 percent.
The Assembly joined the tax-cut movement on March 4. Speaker Sheldon Silver announced a package of bills designed to foster job growth in high-tech industries through targeted tax reductions, credits and other incentives.
"New York's economy is much stronger, but we need to cut costs further to become truly competitive," Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh said.
Walsh testified Feb. 26 before the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees on the need for major business tax reductions. He was joined by James Berg, president of the Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce, and George Robertson, president of the Schenectady Economic Development Corp.
"New York's business taxes remain a disincentive for economic growth," said Berg, who spoke on behalf of the Chamber Alliance of New York State. Reducing the corporate income tax rate would benefit every business in the state, he said.
Robertson, who chairs the New York State Economic Development Council, emphasized the importance of reducing the alternative minimum tax. The AMT limits the value of the state's investment tax credit, New York's primary tax incentive for manufacturers.
"We give an incentive with one hand and take it away with the other," he said. Cutting the AMT "is the most important thing our leaders in Albany can do to make this state more competitive in attracting manufacturers."
Many businesses are writing the governor and key lawmakers urging them to support business tax relief as part of the new state budget.
"If there are state budget surpluses, they should be returned to the hardworking taxpayers who supplied them initially," Lawrence and Denise Pazda, owners of a small western New York company and members of the National Federation of Independent Business, wrote to Governor Pataki. "We need these tax cuts to reinvest in our own small business."
Many chambers of commerce are also urging tax cuts. The Genesee County Chamber wrote state leaders urging cuts to the corporate income tax rate, acceleration of an already enacted reduction in the gross receipts tax, and other reforms. The Greater Buffalo Partnership, Broome County Chamber and Geneva Chamber also have contacted state leaders on the tax issue.
The Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its support of Senate plan, saying corporate tax rate reduction is "the most attractive and affordable" part of the plan.
A member survey by the Plattsburgh/North County Chamber showed business tax reduction as the top priority - with 96 percent supporting more business tax cuts.
All this came as the Senate and Assembly made revenue and spending forecasts showing New York may have hundreds of millions of additional dollars next year for spending or tax cuts.
To urge tax cuts, call the Senate (518/455-2800) and the Assembly (518/455-4100).