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February 3, 2000

Governor outlines how he would eliminate GRT on energy; His surplus estimate grows, but he reaffirms desire to set it aside

Governor Pataki's 30-day amendments to his original Executive Budget spell out how the state's gross receipts tax (GRT) on energy would be phased out.

His plan would eliminate the GRT on energy for manufacturers retroactive to Jan. 1. Manufacturers would get a refundable tax credit on their corporate income taxes equal to what they pay in the energy GRT.

Manufacturers that pay the alternative minimum tax could not use this credit to lower their taxes. Instead, those taxpayers would get a refund for the value of the credit. Thus, all manufacturers would get the full benefit of the elimination of this tax.

The GRT would be phased out over six years for all other business and residential customers beginning this year. The rate would fall from 2.5 percent to 2.4 percent this year, to 2 percent in 2002, to 1.5 percent in 2003, to .7 percent in 2004, and to zero in 2005.

The 30-day amendments leave spending totals "essentially unchanged," the Governor's release said. All-funds spending was originally estimated at $76.8 billion; general-fund spending was projected at $37.9 billion.

The amendments reflect a 1999-2000 surplus projected at $758 million, $133 million more than the Governor's previous estimate.

The Governor said he still wants to set aside the surplus to bolster reserves and ensure new tax cuts.