By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
You'll be paying less money to fill up your gas tank if Republican state lawmakers get their way. And your Con Ed bill might go down, too.
A trio of Republican members of the State Assembly is advocating for tax cuts as a way of stimulating the economy.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R-C-Canandaigua) and Assemblyman Joe Borelli (R-C-South Shore) have co-authored a series of tax reform proposals to present to the newly-created New York State Tax Relief Commission.
Governor Andrew Cuomo created the commission earlier this month, giving the group a mandate to identify ways to reduce the state’s property and business taxes in order to provide relief to homeowners and businesses.
WCBS News radio 880 reported that the governor tapped former governor George Pataki and former state comptroller Carl McCall to be the co-chairmen of the new commission.
The blue ribbon panel is expected to send a list of recommendations to the governor no later than Dec. 6 so that he can present them in his State of the State Address in 2014.
“I look forward to receiving the commission’s recommendations this December so we can include measures in next year’s legislative agenda to help bring further relief to New York’s taxpayers,” Cuomo said in a statement.
In addition, the commission has been instructed by Cuomo to find ways to streamline New York’s tax code to make the state more affordable and competitive with other states when it comes to fostering a positive climate for business.
The Republican assembly members said they’ve got a whole host of ideas to share with the commission. Among their ideas: eliminating the state sales tax on gasoline and hygiene products; repealing the state surcharge on utility bills; and providing personal income tax and corporate franchise tax reductions to small businesses and manufacturers.
Malliotakis said she and her colleagues targeted hygiene products and gasoline for a good reason. “Hygiene products are basic needs. And as far as gasoline goes, we are at a disadvantage in terms of other states. We see people driving to New Jersey to buy gasoline. While they’re there, they go shopping. Our stores lose out. From an economic perspective, it makes sense to keep people here,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Eliminating the state-mandated surcharge on utility bills is a no-brainer, according to Malliotakis. “If you look at your utility bill, you’ll see that 30 percent of it goes to taxes and fees. The government is making more money off your energy bill than Con Ed is,” she said.
The final piece of the puzzle is giving small businesses in the state the same tax breaks as large corporations get, according to Malliotakis, who said small businesses create a large number of jobs in the state. “Basic economics says if you provide an environment for small business job creators to thrive, the economy will grow,” she said.
“It’s so difficult for business to stay in New York. The state has made it so difficult for the American Dream to be achieved,” Malliotakis said.
The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, DC, recently ranked New York’s business climate as the worst in the nation for the second consecutive year.
“By nearly every metric, New York’s tax climate ranks as one of the worst in the nation,” Kolb said. “The governor has formed a new commission to address an old problem. For years, the Assembly Minority Conference has put forth effective tax-relief legislation that allows hard-working New Yorkers to keep more of their paychecks and eases the job-killing costs faced by businesses,” he said.
"Our conference has long had a comprehensive tax-cut platform, which I suggest the new commission takes a hard look at,” Borelli said.