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State GOP's tax credit plan aims to boost employment

ALBANY - Businesses would get a tax credit of up to $5,000 a year for every job added to their payroll, under a plan unveiled Tuesday by the State Senate's Republican minority.

The tax credit amount would be determined by an employee's salary. For example, a $1,150 tax credit would go to the employer for a $30,000 job, and $2,500 for a $50,000 job. The credit would be recurring for three years.

Companies that hire the unemployed would receive a larger tax credit - up to $3,000 more per worker.

"New York is hemorrhaging jobs . . . this plan would encourage hiring," said Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, the GOP leader.

He noted the credits would be a boon because more people would be employed and paying taxes. He said the credits would be limited to private-sector firms who expanded their workforce with good-paying jobs.

The plan also targets small businesses that employ 50 people or fewer and have yearly profits of less than $2 million. They wouldn't have to pay the corporate franchise tax and would see an acceleration in the phaseout of a surcharge on personal income taxes.

These moves would cost about $600 million, though Skelos said the money could be found in Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed $134 billion budget for 2010-11.

The Senate's Democratic majority dismissed the proposal. Spokesman Austin Shafran derided Republicans, saying their 43-year hold on the Senate was marked by increases in taxes, spending and borrowing. "The only job growth they spurred was among New Yorkers leaving for other states in search of the jobs they lost," he said.

While they disagreed on remedies, New York's top leaders acknowledged the loss of 269,000 jobs last year in the worst recession since the 1930s. The Labor Department reported last week that December's unemployment rate rose to 9 percent.

In Rochester Tuesday, Gov. David A. Paterson touted his proposal for $250 million a year in tax credits to employers in technology, renewable energy and other select industries. The Excelsior Jobs Program, he said, would create more jobs while only using about 40 percent of the money devoted to the current Empire Zones.

Paterson spokesman Warner Johnston said the Senate Republicans' plan was being "reviewed."

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