Last Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Relief Commission issued its final report. (Read the Governor’s press release on the report here.)


The Commission was appointed by Gov. Cuomo in October.  Led by former Gov. Pataki and former Comptroller McCall, it was directed to identify ways to “reduce the State’s property and business taxes to provide relief to New York’s homeowners and businesses.”


The Commission’s recommendations include:


–       tying property taxes to income via a real property tax “circuit breaker”;

–       eliminating the state’s regressive 18-a energy surcharge in 2014 for industrial customers and accelerating the 18-a phase-put for all other customers;

–       increasing the state’s estate tax threshold from $1 million to $5.2 million to make it consistent with federal law;

–       lowering the top estate tax rate from 16% to 10%;

–       a 20% manufacturers real property tax credit;

–       eliminating a special tax category for banks in favor of the standard corporate franchise tax;

–       reducing the corporate franchise tax from 7.1% to 6.5%;

–       reducing the corporate income tax rate to 2.5% for Upstate manufacturers;

–       allowing the high-earner personal income tax (PIT) surcharge expire in 2018.


There are some very good recommendations in here, and one that we simply cannot support. Unshackle Upstate has long opposed a ‘circuit breaker’ program, because it does not address the underlying factors that drive up our property taxes. Instead, we support real, meaningful mandate relief to local governments, which does address those underlying cost drivers.


We expect to see many of the recommendations from this report in Gov. Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive budget, which will be released in January.