By Tom Precious
ALBANY -– With budget talks intensifying, Senate Republicans this morning floated a package of old and new ideas to cut taxes, including restoration of the well-timed delivery of STAR rebate checks to property owners.
The rebate check program, which ended in 2009 during a fiscal crisis and had previously been timed to get into mailboxes just before the November elections, would cost the state about $1.3 billion. It would provide an average rebate of about $445, though the amount upstate would be far less than high-tax areas like Long Island and Westchester County.
The total of the Senate GOP tax cut package, which would also include elimination of a tax on utilities that is passed along to consumers, would be worth an estimated $2 billion. The ideas unveiled Monday would also increase the maximum child tax credit from $330 to $375, as well as hike the credit for dependent care. The dependent exemption in New York would be increased for the first time since 1987 from $1,000 to $2,020 per dependent.
It is uncertain what state programs the Republicans would cut to make up for the lost tax revenues for Albany.