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Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlines plans this afternoon for a tax credit aimed at middle class homeowners and renters. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)


ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today presented the first piece of his "2015 Opportunity Agenda" – a $1.66 billion property tax credit program aimed at middle class homeowners and renters.

The new proposal will create a Real Property Tax Credit for households whose tax property tax burden exceeds six percent of their income. Taxpayers with incomes below $250,000 would qualify for this credit, and the credit is valued at up to 50 percent of the amount by which property taxes exceed the six percent burden threshold. The specific amount of the credit within that 50 percent is determined on a progressive income scale, so that New Yorkers with the highest tax burdens and lowest income levels will receive the greatest amount of relief.

When fully phased-in, the 543,299 upstate taxpayers who qualify for it will receive an average of $781 each. Statewide, 1,311,567 will receive an average of $956 credit.

The proposal also includes a renters' credit, based upon the estimate that 13.75 percent of annual gross rent is attributed to property taxes. The credit is available to taxpayers at incomes up to $150,000 when the amount attributed to property taxes exceeds six percent of their income. This will ensure equity and fairness for approximately one million New Yorkers who – while not owning property – are still burdened by the high property tax rates that have characterized New York State for decades.

The new credits will be included in the Governor’s 2015-16 Executive Budget.

Unshackle Upstate gave Cuomo's proposal a tepid response, saying, "While we’re pleased to see Governor Cuomo continue to focus on New York State’s property tax crisis, his property tax credit plan misses the mark."

The self-proclaimed pro-taxpayer group said, "A property tax circuit breaker only shifts the property tax burden to all taxpayers. It also fails to deliver property tax relief to businesses across the state. Further, New York State has significant regional variations in household income, home values and taxes, which means that eligible taxpayers in some parts of the state will receive greater benefits from this proposal than others."

The group said the governor's focus should be aimed at pushing for a permanent 2-percent property tax cap and eliminating "mandates that drive up the cost of property taxes.”

RELATED: YouTube video of Gov. Cuomo's announcement.

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