January 4, 2006
Governor proposes new tax cuts, scholarship to attract top students to math and science teaching
Governor George Pataki has proposed a significant new package of tax cuts for businesses, individuals, and property owners and a series of new investments in programs designed to position New York to sustain an innovation-based economy that will be competitive in the global marketplace.
In his annual State of the State message, the Governor announced "a pro-family tax cut program—a series of measures that will reduce the tax burden on working families, stimulate the economy and foster the competitiveness that will attract even more investment and jobs to New York."
In a major new policy pronouncement, the Governor established ambitious goals for improving the state's education system.
"Let’s not only renew our commitment to improving educational opportunities for all students in New York State, let’s make New York the nation’s leader in preparing our students for careers in math, science and engineering," the Governor said.
The tax-cut package includes proposals to reduce business and personal income taxes as well as two new enhancements to the STAR property-tax relief program. The Governor said the STAR changes would increase the benefit for seniors and provide property-owners across the state a direct rebate on their school taxes.
“Tax cuts work. And when we cut taxes, New Yorkers work," the Governor said. “If our goal is to position New York State to thrive in the face of evolving global competition, our fight to cut taxes must continue."
The Governor's education proposals include a new program which would offer scholarships to students who commit to studying math and science at SUNY and CUNY institutions and then to teach those subjects in New York public schools.
The Business Council last month unveiled a similar proposal to invest up to $50 million to offer competitive, merit-based scholarships to students who pledge to earn bachelors’ of science degrees at an public or private college or university, to earn teachers’ certification, and to teach at least five years in a New York State public school.
The Council welcomed both the tax-cut plan and the scholarship proposal.
“Governor Pataki has laid out an ambitious economic-policy agenda that deserves the gratitude of New Yorkers and the full consideration of state Legislators," Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh said in a statement.
“These tax-cut proposals are especially encouraging. Governor Pataki and the Legislature have proven that cutting taxes on workers and businesses creates jobs. The governor’s tax-cut plan is ambitious—but so are New Yorkers.
“We are also heartened to see the proposal for scholarships to encourage more bright young New Yorkers to become math and science teachers," Walsh added. "A stronger commitment to the teaching and learning of math and science is essential if New York is to build and sustain the successful, innovation-based economy that our future demands. We welcome this idea and other proposed investments in a prosperous high-tech future for New York."
The Governor’s specific tax-cut proposals include:
- Reducing taxes on businesses.
- Reducing the income-tax rate that most New York families pay.
- Eliminating the estate tax to encourage more New Yorkers to
remain in the state.
- Eliminating the "marriage penalty," i.e., reducing
the personal income-tax burden for two-income working couples.
- Creating a $500 heating fuel tax credit for older New Yorkers.
- Increasing the STAR benefit to seniors.
- Providing a direct rebate on school taxes to property-tax payers.
Further details on specific tax-cut proposals will come when the Governor unveils his budget proposal in two weeks.
The Governor also proposed:
- “Dramatically expanding" charter schools statewide.
- Creating more high schools focused on math and science.
- Creating an “Empire Innovation" program to help SUNY
and CUNY schools attract more top researchers and federal grant
- Adding Empire Zones in the handful of counties that do not now
- Creating new “Tech Zones" linked to the state’s
Centers of Excellence to offer Empire Zone-like benefits to encourage
investments related to center initiatives. The centers and the
new Tech Zones would be linked to new math and science high schools,
creating “five hubs of high-tech education, innovation and
manufacturing across the state."
- Investing in a new biotechnology research capitalizing on the
strength of universities and health-care institutions in New York
- Attracting companies that develop renewable energy sources by
making the entire state a tax-free zone for this industry.
- Making renewable fuel tax-free throughout the state.
- Creating summer math and science programs at the state's community colleges.
The text of the Governor's address is available at www.state.ny.us/governor/2006_sos/sosaddress_text.html.
A press release from the Governor's office on the address is available at www.ny.gov/governor/press/06/0104061.htm.