Campaign for major business-tax reduction is under way; Walsh asks chambers, associations to begin push; MACNY starts work on AMT reform


Director of Communications

New York's business community has begun a broad-based cam-paign to win the next major round of tax cuts needed to make the Empire State more competitive.

Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh faxed a memo to chambers of commerce, regional associations and other allies on Wednesday, asking them to contact Governor Pataki and legislators in the next few days.

Walsh's memo highlighted the tax-reduction package the Senate Majority is expected to introduce shortly. It would reduce business tax rates from 9 to 6.85 percent; enhance the value of the invest-ment tax credit by reducing the alternative minimum tax; create a new ITC to encourage securities firms to expand in New York; and enact other important reforms.

The Assembly Majority has also expressed interest in developing a tax-reduction package, including new business tax cuts, Walsh said.

"This is truly an historic opportunity to win the further tax reduction New York needs to become more competitive," he said.

"Your help in making the case for major tax reduction this year is absolutely essential," Walsh told the business groups. "And, contrary to recent years, there seems to be a chance that this year's budget might be adopted near the April 1 deadline. So we need to act as quickly as possible."

Some organizations are already actively working for major new business tax reduction. The Manu-facturers Association of Central New York is asking legislators to reduce the alternative minimum tax from 3.5 to 1.75 percent.

"The AMT retards investment in New York by manufacturers," MACNY said in a white paper explaining why reduction is needed. "If you want manufacturing jobs, you must encourage manufacturing investment."

AMT reduction is included in the Senate package, and a number of Assembly Democrats and Republicans support a similar proposal, the MACNY paper notes.

Meanwhile, Walsh wrote to Senate Majority Leader Bruno, asking that the Senate bill include acceleration of the reduction in the gross receipts tax on utility customers that was enacted last year. The Governor's budget includes $100 million to speed up unspecified, existing tax cuts.