Assembly Democrats propose tax relief plan for households earning under $200,000 - The Buffalo News
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Assembly Democrats propose tax relief plan for households earning under $200,000

ALBANY – Assembly Democrats are proposing a $1.1 billion, three-year property tax relief program that restricts the tax breaks to residents with annual household incomes under $200,000 a year.

The Assembly plan, which is detailed in its one-house budget bill released late Tuesday night, differs from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s property tax freeze proposal that would be available to all New Yorkers regardless of income levels.

The Assembly Democratic plan, to be approved today by the house, will now become subject of negotiations among the Assembly, Senate and Cuomo. It states that households with incomes under $120,000 per year would get a 20 percent state tax credit on their income taxes if their property tax bill is 3 percent or more of their income.

Those making between $150,000 and $200,000 annually would get a 4 percent credit if their property tax bill is more than 15 percent of their income.

The Assembly plan also sets up a medical marijuana growth and distribution system in New York, permitting physicians to approve use of state-approved marijuana to patients suffering “a severe debilitating or life-threatening’’ condition, which could include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, arthritis and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

A government-issued marijuana card would be available for up to one year for approved patients, with renewal options if approved by physicians. Patients could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Sellers could be for-profit or not-for-profit corporations. The Assembly plan also imposes a tax on distributors, as well as a 10 percent excise tax on buyers of medical marijuana.

Money collected by the tax would go to the state, with some exceptions, including 7.5 percent of the excise tax proceeds to counties that permit the growing of marijuana and 7.5 percent to counties where medical marijuana is dispensed. Another 5 percent would go for state drug prevention and counseling efforts.

The Assembly budget plan also:

• Creates an Office of Utility Consumer Advocate to represent the interests of residential utility customers;

• Approves a tax hike plan by New York City to fund a pre-kindergarten program but also includes additional money for a statewide program. It also includes a five-year, phase-in grant program to help districts implement full-day pre-K programs, as well as creation of a reserve fund to ensure money is available during the five-year period;

• Adds to Cuomo’s $2 billion school bond program by allowing private schools to get computer equipment loaned to their students by public schools within their areas;

• Walks back Cuomo’s plan to end certain reporting requirements for pesticide applications;

• Requires members of Cuomo’s regional economic development councils, and other such executive branch advisory groups, to disclose their outside financial activities and also places new restrictions on the governor’s ability to place “lump sum’’ allocations in the budget without specifying how the money is to be spent.

The Senate is due to pass its one-house budget on Thursday. Senate officials could not say if the Senate’s package of bills and resolutions would be made public today.


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