2007-02-09 / Community

Huntley Disappointed In Republican Veto

State Senator Shirley L. Huntley recently expressed her disappointment that two progressive property tax measures, introduced recently as amendments by Senate Democrats, were rejected by the Senate's Republican Majority.

"We had an opportunity to target tax relief to those who need it most- primarily senior citizens and middle-class working families," Senator Huntley said. "And once again, despite the Majority's stated pledge to being about much-needed reform in Albany, our measures landed on deaf ears."

The property tax measures were offered as amendments to a proposal offered by Senate Republicans.

"My Senate Democratic colleagues and I know that New York's property taxes must be levied more equitably," Huntley said. "We understand that seniors and middle-class families carry an unfair tax burden. When it comes down to it, what our proposals would have addressed is the fundamental issue of fairness."

The Queens lawmaker said the amendments, if enacted, would have addressed at least some of the inequities in the current property tax system. Specifically, one would have expanded the Real Property Tax Credit for seniors, which overcomes the regressive nature of property taxes by increasing the maximum credit amount for senior citizens from $375 to $1,125. This credit, which has not been increased for more than 30 years, would have been raised from $75 to $225 for other qualifying New Yorkers as well.

The second Democrat-proposed amendment called for expanding personal income tax credit- currently allowed only to New York City renters- to the entire state, providing tax relief to renters in suburban regions where property tax hikes have dramatically driven up rental costs. Over one million families statewide who rent their housing would be helped by this proposal, as would more than 500,000 seniors.

Senator Huntley noted that her Conference's tax-fighting proposals are part of a larger, ongoing effort to bring fiscal relief to all New Yorkers.

"My legislative colleagues and I have been given a clear directive: New Yorkers from Buffalo to Bayside have asked, 'Lighten our load,'" Senator Huntley concluded. "Senate Democrats were deeply disappointed when Republicans chose to ignore the pressing needs of seniors and working families. I look forward to working closely with the Spitzer administration to reform State government, especially with an eye towards fixing the inequities and failed policies of the past.

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