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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Cuomo offers carrot-and-stick approach to property-tax breaks

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Photo Credit: AP, 2013

ALBANY -- With a re-election campaign looming, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a tax proposal Monday that seems to contain something for everyone.

The Democrat governor called for lowering corporate and estate taxes, offering an income-tax credit to offset property-tax hikes in some circumstances and a renters-tax credit for New York City residents who qualify. It would also link the property-tax incentive to homeowners’ ability to pay. Most of the ideas were proposed by a Cuomo-created tax commission in December.

Cuomo formally announced it just two days before he delivers his 2014 State of the State address, which sets his legislative agenda for the year. He said he wants the  Legislature to make the tax package its “first agenda items.”

It’s unclear whether any of the proposals would impact an individual’s 2014 taxes.

Under the plan, Cuomo said the income-tax credit would effectively check property tax hikes for two years. But it includes a carrot-and-stick approach: municipalities would have to stay within the state’s 2 percent property-tax cap the first year and move to share or consolidate services with neighboring governments the next year in order for residents to benefit.

"We propose a property tax credit which will freeze property tax increases for two years,” Cuomo said. "If the locality wants the credit then the locality must perform."

Appealing to businesses, the governor proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent, eliminating taxes for upstate manufacturers and offering all manufacturers a 20 percent property-tax credit.

He said the approach was about telling businesses: “Forget all the stereotypes about New York .?.?. Give us a second look.”

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