BUFFALO – The Buffalo Niagara Partnership today announced its support of Unshackle Upstate’s New ERA (Economic Revitalization Agenda) for Upstate plan.
“Unshackle Upstate’s New ERA plan provides a road map for Albany’s leaders to continue to build on their much appreciated investments and attention to Upstate New York,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “By addressing Upstate’s troublesome tax burden, overarching regulations, and tapping into its regional assets, the New ERA plan will allow Upstate to prosper.”
The proposal consists of five points designed to deliver broad-based tax relief and stimulate job growth across Upstate New York:
· Reduce state income taxes by 25 percent for Upstate residents making less than $50,000 annually
o Approximate annual cost of $225 million
· Reduce the Corporate Franchise Tax (9-A) for Upstate businesses
o Phase out over 4 years and eliminate by 2018
o 25-percent reduction in 2014-15
o 50-percent reduction in 2015-16
o 75-percent reduction in 2016-17
o Full repeal in 2017-18
o Approximate cost of $273 million in 2014-15
· Reduce state sales tax by 50 percent in targeted Upstate counties
o Reduce state sales tax share by 50 percent (from 4 percent to 2 percent) for the Upstate counties with the significant decline in population and high unemployment rates
o Approximate annual cost of $250 million
· Eliminate the 18a energy assessment for Upstate manufacturers
o Approximate cost of $190 million in 2014-15
o Cost will be reduced in succeeding years as the tax is phased out
· Develop the Marcellus Shale
o Generate approximately $78 million in state revenue in 2014-15
o Revenues will grow in future years as natural gas development activity increases
This plan will cost a total of $860 million, equivalent to .6 percent of the projected 2014 state budget. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Unshackle Upstate encouraged legislative leaders to include the proposal in next year’s budget. The Partnership recently testified to the merits of the New ERA plan at a public hearing on tax policy and reform initiatives in Buffalo held by the New York State Senate Majority Coalition’s Committees on Finance and Investigations & Government Operations.
“Our Upstate communities have been victimized by a three-headed monster for decades. Our New ERA for Upstate plan will help combat the burdensome taxes, high unemployment rates and population losses that have plagued Upstate for far too long,” said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. “This five-point plan will reduce taxes for people and businesses that need it the most. It will also create thousands of good-paying jobs and boost the Upstate economy.”
Members of the WNY State Delegation joined the Partnership in supporting the New ERA for Upstate plan:
“The biggest challenge facing New York’s families and businesses remains the state’s still recovering economy, a fact that is even more evident across Upstate and Western New York,” said NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan. “New York’s combination of high taxes and onerous regulations are tantamount to death by a thousand cuts for small businesses and large employers alike. I applaud Unshackle Upstate’s commitment to substantive and meaningful reform, and I look forward to working with them and other reform-minded partners to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, reduce taxes and foster an economic environment where existing business can grow and new ones want to locate.”
“These proposals would undoubtedly reduce the cost of doing business in Upstate New York and create new economic development opportunities,” said NYS Senator George Maziarz. “These ideas are not gimmicks; they are broad-based reforms that would make us more competitive with other states. We need this kind of common sense approach to turning Upstate New York around.”
“Areas across Upstate New York are still waiting for an economic boost. The New ERA plan provides the blueprints to do just that by proposing to lower taxes and energy costs for small businesses and manufacturers. I look forward to working with Unshackle Upstate and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership in the State Capitol to help make this plan a reality,” said NYS Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.
“The extremely unfriendly business climate of New York State continues to deter not only new investment from out of state companies looking to expand, but more importantly, in state businesses that have the capability to grow, develop our economy and create jobs, yet are unable to do so because of excessive taxes, fees and over regulation,” said NYS Assemblymember Jane Corwin. “I applaud the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Unshackle Upstate for their efforts and advocacy for the Economic Revitalization Proposal that will provide much needed tax relief, generate economic growth, build opportunity, and begin to change the unfriendly business climate that has plagued New York for so many years.”
“I appreciate many of the ideas and suggestions that Unshackle Upstate has presented, both now and in the past, on ways that we can streamline regulation and moderate our state’s tax policy to bring about a vibrant ‘New’ New York,” said NYS Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak. “I will continue to support the elimination of the 18a energy assessment and look forward to how the other points presented may start the debate that could lead to changes that would be acceptable to the legislature and the governor.”
“I look forward to working with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Unshackle Upstate by reducing the burden on taxpayers and making upstate New York more attractive to business investors,” said NYS Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.
“It’s great to have Unshackle Upstate joining with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and other business organizations in advocating for Upstate New York. As an advocate for addressing our economic situation here in Upstate differently than for Downstate, I enthusiastically welcome and support Unshackle’s New Era five-point tax relief plan that targets Upstate's lagging economy. Having this conversation about taxes out in the open is much more preferable to the back room, last minute deals on taxes we’ve seen in Albany these past few years,” said NYS Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, chairman of the Assembly Economic Development Committee.