In the 2011 legislative session a number of groundbreaking bills were signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Marriage Equality Act, tax cap legislation, ethics reform legislation and lower income taxes became milestones of Cuomo’s first year in office.
Here is a look back at some of the legislation that was enacted on 2011.
Marriage Equality Act This law allows same sex couples to be married in New York State. When New York passed this law, it became the largest and most influential state in the nation to allow same sex couples to be married and receive all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage. The Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democratic New York State senators, released a report that estimates the state will gain $391 million in revenue within three years.
Property Tax Cap Tax cap legislation was signed by Cuomo in June and went into effect on Jan. 1. School district and municipal business offices went into overdrive learning the effects of the legislation on finances. The tax cap legislation caps the tax levy at 2 percent, not the actual tax rate. Tax levies are connected to the amount a public institution will raise through real property taxes and is not the actual tax rate that appears on taxpayers’ annual bill.
School districts have found the tax cap especially challenging, since their budgets are put up to public vote, and must override a tax levy cap by a public supermajority of 60 percent. Many local municipalities have already overridden the tax levy cap, such as the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Town of Bedford.
Lower Income Taxes in New York State The lowest income tax rate in 58 years and a reduction of the MTA Payroll Tax was signed into law by Cuomo and went into effect on Jan. 1. New Yorkers making $40,000 or more will have at least a .15 percent reduction in their income tax rate. According to the Governor’s office, 4.4 million New Yorkers are expected to save $300 to $400 per year in income tax. Perhaps the most lauded portion of this bill is the $250 million in MTA Payroll Tax, which will save 700,000 New Yorkers who own small businesses or make less than $50,000 in self-employed income.
Ethics Reform Key parts of the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 require legislators to make additional disclosure of their assets, income and outside clients. The law also creates a public database of lobbyists and ensures that public officials who are convicted of a felony while in office will forfeit their pensions.
Legislation You Might Now Know About In Nov ember Cuomo signed into law legislation that requires insurance companies to cover more expenses relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders. The law goes into effect in November of 2012, making New York the 29th state to pass a law that caps the annual cost of service for these disorders.
Cuomo extended a ban on commercial striped bass fishing in the Hudson River, extending from downstream to Troy, N.Y. The ban was put into place because of PCB contamination in the River. The New York State Department of Health advises children and women of child bearing age against eating any fish from the Hudson River.
Taking effect in January is a law extending the list of convictions that prohibit a person from temporarily or permanently operating a school bus. The law changed several convictions, including vehicular manslaughter and aggravated vehicular homicide, from five year prohibitions to permanent prohibitions.