Last week, Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Reform and Fairness Commission released its final report.  The Commission, which was co-chaired by Carl McCall and Peter Solomon, was tasked with undertaking a “comprehensive and objective review of the State’s taxation policy, considering ways to eliminate tax loopholes, promote administrative efficiency and enhance tax collection and enforcement.”


The report “outlines revenue-neutral policy options to modernize the current tax system with the goals of increasing its simplicity, fairness, economic competitiveness and affordability.” It recommends an overhaul of the state’s tax system, saying the current tax regime is unfair to middle- and low-income families and is needlessly confusing and burdensome for businesses.


The report lays out five potential “reform packages”:


–       Modernize the sales tax while funding low‐ and middle‐income tax relief and overall real property tax relief;

–       Modify the estate tax and other wealth‐related taxes to relieve the burden on middle class families and address concerns regarding the impact of the estate tax on the migration of wealthy New Yorkers to other states;

–       Reform the State’s corporate and bank franchise taxes to better reflect how businesses operate in a 21st century economy and improve business tax incentives so they achieve their economic and social goals at an appropriate cost to the State;

–       Update the State’s outdated system of local real property tax administration; and

–       Simplify the administration of taxes to ease compliance for businesses and individuals in New York.


We are pleased that their recommendations include some that we have also proposed, such as the accelerated phase-out of the energy surcharge that was put in place in 2009.


The Tax Reform and Fairness Commission is different than the Tax Relief Commission that Gov. Cuomo appointed in early October.  The report issued last week was meant to be revenue neutral while flattening the tax structure.  The Tax Relief Commission is charged with identifying ways to reduce that state’s property and business taxes.


Confused?  It’s understandable.  But rest assured we will let you know that The Tax Relief Commission is expected to issue a report in the first week of December.  That report should include REAL tax cuts and reforms and we will report back to you with their recommendations.  Let’s hope this is not a gimmick and another attempt to use Albany math to make us think we are getting something for nothing.  Typically when that is proposed, we lose more money!