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March 20th, 2013

Republicans unveil Family Tax Relief Act to aid the middle class

William Larkin

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and members of the Senate Republican Conference recently unveiled the Family Tax Relief Act, a package of tax relief and reform measures designed to provide a major economic boost to New York’s struggling middle class families.

The Senate Republican plan would increase tax breaks that have not kept pace with inflation. The plan also restores the STAR property tax rebate check program to provide real and direct relief to millions of New Yorkers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the country.

"Federal payroll taxes went up, paychecks got smaller, the cost of health care, gas and tuition have gone through the roof, and family budgets are squeezed even tighter," Senator Skelos said. "Just when families find a way to make ends meet, somebody moves the ends."

"Millions of middle-class families are finding it more difficult to maintain a decent standard of living and stay in New York," Senator Skelos said. "The existing state tax breaks for middle class families have been significantly eroded by inflation. Our plan updates them to provide families with much-needed tax relief from income and property taxes."

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C-I, Cornwall-on-Hudson) said: "In today’s economy it is increasingly difficult for families to pay the bills, save for college and plan for the future. The proposals we are putting forward in the Family Tax Relief Act will help hardworking taxpayers save money and give them an incentive to stay in New York and not flee to more tax-friendly states. I especially support the restoration of the STAR Property Tax Rebate checks. This program assisted taxpayers, especially seniors, and came to be counted on as a means of tax relief. The restoration of this program needs to happen as soon as possible and I sincerely hope we can work with the Governor and the Assembly to have these measures included in the upcoming budget negotiations."

The Senate plan would: more than double the value of the Dependent Exemption; increase the Child Tax Credit and provide an additional $500 child tax credit; increase the value of the Dependent Care Credit; and restore STAR property tax rebate checks.

The current $1,000 value of the Dependent Exemption was last updated in 1987. Since then, inflation has reduced the value of that exemption to essentially nothing. The value of similar family tax credits have also been eroded significantly and would be adjusted by the Senate Republican Family Tax Relief Plan.

For a family with an annual income of $55,000 and two children, the total increase in tax savings would be $1,036. A family making $100,000 a year with two children would have their tax savings increased by $812. A single parent with one child and an income of $45,000 per year would see an increased tax savings of $811.

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