Many of us ring in the New Year with a fresh set of goals and resolutions for a promising year to come. This year, Jan. 1 marked not only the beginning of 2012, but the day that a number of important laws in New York went into effect.
Most recently, New York proclaimed its first restructuring of the tax code in decades, providing the lowest tax rate for middle-class families in over 50 years. The new tax reform reduces tax rates for 99 percent of New Yorkers, while increasing the rate paid by millionaires and billionaires (Ch. 56 of 2011).
At the same time, hardworking families statewide will begin to see real property tax relief with the 2 percent property tax cap (Ch. 97 of 2011). The law helps curb large property tax increases and helps working families and seniors stay in their homes. And because the 2 percent limit can be exceeded by a 60 percent vote by the taxpayers’ school-budget vote, school budgets will not be put in jeopardy.
These two laws make substantial strides toward providing tax relief for New York families. As the economy continues to grow, one of the best ways to ensure its strength and prosperity is by keeping money in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers.
A number of other important laws went into effect Jan. 1, some of which include extending the state’s “move over” law to include any hazard vehicle, such as tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. By taking the current law a step further, we ensure that anyone risking their lives on the roadways — either by providing assistance to others or simply as part of their daily job duties — is protected under the law (Ch. 458 of 2011); and prohibiting the application of lawn fertilizers on impervious surfaces, within 20 feet of any surface water, and between Dec. 1 and April 1. The Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law will improve water quality in New York by reducing phosphorus runoff into the state's waterbodies (Ch. 205 of 2010).
Last year, an on-time budget and bold new laws brought results to the hardworking families of the East End. Moving forward into our new legislative session, I am eager to continue working hard for you.