Al Stirpe

Stirpe: State budget helps middle-class families get ahead

During my time in the state Assembly, we’ve had to make difficult decisions during budget negotiations. But in the face of a projected $4.4 billion deficit, this year was especially challenging. We deliberated for weeks on end and worked tirelessly to find common ground with our governing partners. In the end, we were able to pass an on-time budget that better secured our state’s financial future while ensuring hardworking Central New Yorkers have the resources they need to succeed.

To help our families keep more of their hard-earned money, the state budget continues the phase-in of middle-class tax cuts that are projected to produce annual savings of $4.2 billion by 2025. These cuts reduce the state income tax rate from 6.45 to 5.5 percent for those earning between $40,000 and $150,000 and from 6.65 to 6 percent for those who earn between $150,000 and $300,000. Thanks to these much-needed tax breaks, Central New York families will see average savings of $250 this year and $700 annually once they’re fully implemented.

High property taxes are a significant barrier that prevent families from getting ahead and even force some residents to move out of state. The budget continues the local property tax relief credit, which will help families save an average of $380 this year and $530 in 2019.

The rising costs of living, combined with stagnant wages, make it difficult for New Yorkers to save for the future. To help boost families’ savings, the state budget creates the New York State Secure Choice Savings Program, a voluntary-enrollment payroll deduction IRA for private-sector employees whose employers don’t currently offer retirement savings plans. The new program will be especially helpful for small businesses who often find it difficult, and costly, to create and maintain these savings plans.

Another important issue that needed to be addressed was the impact of the new federal tax law, which severely restricts our families’ ability to fully utilize state and local tax deductions. To protect Central New Yorkers from this legislation on the state level, the budget creates state-operated charitable contribution funds that would offer state and federal tax deductions, as well as a state tax credit, to those who make a contribution. Local governments and school districts would be able to create similar funds that offer local property tax deductions equal to a percentage of the contribution amount.

When middle-class families have access to the programs and tax savings they need to thrive, we can be sure our state and our economy are on the right track. I’ll never stop working to secure a brighter future for Central New York and the families who call our region home.

If you have any questions about this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me at 315-452-1115 or at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.

By martha

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