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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson

Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Calculator Launched

Senator Craig M. Johnson announces the launch of an online calculator that will show how much your family could save under the “Circuit Breaker” tax credit program that recently passed the Senate.

He additionally urges the Assembly to take action on this critically important legislation.

The calculator can be found at www.craigjohnson.nysenate.gov.

The circuit breaker provides targeted tax relief to households earning up to $250,000 per year that pays more than a threshold percentage of their income on property taxes. It was part of a comprehensive tax relief package that also included restoring the STAR rebate check for Seniors and a cap on school property taxes.

“This circuit breaker would help many Long Island households that are house rich and cash poor get the property tax relief that they need,” Johnson said. “I am proud to have helped sponsor this legislation. Now, the Assembly needs to get on board and pass this comprehensive tax relief package.”

More than 1.6 million households across New York State – 41,758 of which are in the 7th Senate District – will benefit from the circuit breaker credit.

The average circuit breaker rebate for these families within the 7th Senate District is $1,783.

The calculator also has a link to the Assembly website, where residents can look up and contact their member.

The circuit breaker tax credit is equal to 30 percent of property tax payments over the threshold percentage. Eligibility will be determined based on a formula in which the circuit breaker takes effect when spending on property taxes exceeds 7 percent of the first $120,000 of income, 8 percent of the next $55,000 and 9 percent of the excess, up to a total income of $250,000.

State Workers Should Agree to Salary Freeze

Recently, Governor Paterson put forth legislation that included a temporary freeze on projected state employee raises while the budget is under negotiations.

The response from the state worker unions was swift, angry, and wrong.

On this issue, I agree with the governor. I also believe those same state worker unions should follow the lead of teachers in the Roslyn and Port Washington school districts and agree to a wage freeze for this coming year.

We are in the midst of a very real financial crisis and I believe it is imperative for us all to share in the sacrifice.

I am extremely proud of the men and women who comprise our State work force, as I am of our teachers and municipal employees. They are dedicated public servants who work hard every day. However, the reality is that New York State cannot sustain these pay increases as we face a $9.2 billion budget deficit.

Agreeing to forgo such raises also sends the right message as families continue to struggle and our economy continues to rebuild.

As I have said before, I believe that elected officials should not be increasing their compensation for these same reasons. There are no state legislator raises on the horizon and I have introduced legislation that not only freezes per diem rates of all state lawmakers, but also rolls them back to last year’s levels. This bill (S6227A) deserves a vote before the full Senate.  

Believe it or not, my positions on these issues are considered radical in Albany. But, as you know, in the real world, this is just common sense.