Gov. Cuomo calls for small business tax cut, wage hike
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday focused on economic issues as he rolled out his 2015 agenda, including a call for the state’s minimum wage to increase to $10.50 and even higher in New York City, as well as a small business tax cut and a student loan forgiveness program.
The state’s current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour and is slated to rise to $9 at the end of the year. Cuomo’s proposal would have it rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016. The city’s minimum wage would go up to $11.50. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others have wanted lawmakers to authorize local governments to set higher minimum wages.
Cuomo said the increase was important. “The wage gap is continuing to grow,” he said.
The tax cut would lower the rate for small businesses from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent over a three-year period. When phased-in fully the cut would reduce overall taxes by about $32 million for 42,000 taxpayers.
The new rate, if approved by state lawmakers, would be the lowest paid by small businesses since the tax was imposed in 1917.
“Small businesses are the engine of opportunity and we will do everything we can to ensure they thrive and grow in New York,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the proposal.
Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, applauded Cuomo’s proposal. “Small businesses in New York face countless obstacles on the road to success — but Governor Cuomo just opened a huge shortcut for them,” said Scissura.
The Democratic governor also proposed the creation of a small business office to streamline government licensing and permitting and to connect businesses to support programs.
Cuomo has announced several proposals in recent days as he prepares to deliver his state of the state address on Wednesday, the same day he’ll unveil his proposed state budget.
Also on Sunday the governor announced a $43 million student loan forgiveness program which, if approved by the Legislature, would help a projected 7,100 graduates. The program would ensure that the first two years of a borrower’s repayments are covered after they graduate.
The benefit would be open to graduates who participate in the federal Pay as You Earn loan repayment program. To be eligible, individuals would have to have attended college in New York state and remained here after graduation and now make less than $50,000.
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