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2016-17 State Budget Highlights

by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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We recently passed the 2016-2017 State Budget and this is much more than just a financial document, it is a document that directs the state’s polices on a number of important issues. I am proud to announce that this budget included so many important victories on issues that I and my Democratic colleagues have advocated for so many years.

unnamed (9)New York must be a beacon on smart and innovative polices and this budget accomplishes that goal. We passed a major middle class tax break, the strongest paid family leave program in the nation, a higher minimum wage with protections for our businesses, an unprecedented increase in aid for our public school districts including closing the GEA and a number of other crucial issues that will help move New York forward.

unnamed (8)Making New York State a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family is a top priority for me, and thanks to the work of my Senate Democratic Conference and our colleagues in State government, we have taken a giant step in the right direction. Below are some highlights of this great budget. If you would like more information on any of these topics I encourage you to reach out to my office.

Middle Class Tax Cut: 

The State Budget continues the progress of the past few years in lowering taxes for struggling working and middle class New York households. Starting in 2018, tax rates will begin dropping for thousands of middle class households throughout New York and will continue decreasing annually for 5 years. When fully phased in, the state’s income tax rate will be the lowest in 70 years, at 5.5% for households earning under $149,000 annually, and 6% for households earning between $150,000 and $300,000.

Help for Hardworking New Yorkers:

        • Balancing the needs of hardworking New York families and those of our state’s business community was a top priority for my Senate Democratic Conference, and I believe the State Budget agreement struck that balance.
        • Under the State Budget, the minimum wage will increase incrementally over the next few years for New Yorkers throughout the state, though the increases will differ based on regional requirements. For Westchester County residents, the current minimum wage of $9 an hour will increase to $10 at the end of the year, and then rise a dollar an hour annually until 2021 when the rate will be capped at $15.
        • Additionally, the paid family leave program included in the State Budget is the strongest in the nation. Starting in 2018, New Yorkers will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for loved ones in need after working at least six months at their jobs. Initial benefits will be 50% of an employee’s salary, capped at 50% of the state average wage. Those benefits will increase to provide New Yorkers with up to 67% of their salary, capped at 67% of the state average wage, by 2021.

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