Written by Wendy Kreitzman Saturday, 20 April 2013 00:00
Highlighting increased funding from CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program), New York State Senator Jack Martins offered a brief state budget review at the recent Nassau County Village Officials Association (NCVOA) dinner meeting. Martins, who fought for these increased CHIPS funds, reported a $75 million increase for municipalities (towns and villages), for road improvement and maintenance.
In a separate interview, the senator focused on specific benefits for Great Neck. CHIPS funds for the Town of North Hempstead total $642,820, a 27.75 increase over last year. The nine Great Neck villages will see similar increases of 25 and 26 percent.
The senator also said that over the next three years, families with at least one child, and a household income of $40,000 to $300,000 will receive a family tax relief check of $350. And he noted the extension of middle class tax cuts that were due to expire in 2014, cuts which he said will “ensure that middle class tax rates remain at their lowest level in 60 years.”
Martins said that the Great Neck School District, thanks to his efforts, will now realize a 4.89 percent increase over last year. The senator, a former village mayor (in Mineola), and chair of the senate’s standing committee on local government, fought for an additional eight percent incase per capita in state aid.
As for pension relief, according to the senator, this budget allows school districts and local governments to pay a flat pension rate in order to see immediate relief that can be passed on to taxpayers.
For workers, the budget also sees a minimum wage increases from the current $7.25 to $8 per hour at the end of the year; raised to $8.25 per hour by the end of 2014; and an increase to $9 an hour by the end of 2015.
The budget also includes almost $600 million in tax relief for New York businesses over the next three years, including a reduction in personal income taxes on business income for “hundreds of thousands of small businesses that pay personal income tax.” Additionally, the budgets creates tax credits to any business that hires a veteran returning home from military service. This credit will equal 10 percent of wages paid, increasing to 15 percent of wages if the veteran is disabled.
And, according to Martins, the budget phases out the 18-a-utility surcharge, “saving residents and businesses money on their electric bills.”
Turning to senior citizens, the senator stated: “The budget also keeps a strong commitment to senior citizens and includes full funding for the EPIC Program and $912 million for the Enhanced STAR property tax exemption for seniors.”
Martins stated that this new state budget keeps spending growth below two percent, “marking the third straight year that spending growth has been below two percent, consistent with the local tax cap that applies to school districts and local governments.” And the senator said that this 2013-2014 budget “marks the third straight year the sate budget is on time and the first time that has happened in nearly 30 years.”