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Local group backs tax relief plan

Chris Caya/wbfo news

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is endorsing the New Economic Revitalization Agenda proposed by Unshackle Upstate, a plan that looks to cut taxes and calls for the legalization of a controversial gas drilling method.

Executive Director Brian Sampson says the plan reduces state income taxes 25 percent on wages of $50,000 or less, lowers the corporate franchise tax, and cuts the state sales tax by 50 percent. It also eliminates the energy assessment for manufacturers and  supports development of the Marcellus Shale.

"We offer it up as a talking point, to say to the folks down in Albany, 'we need something in Upstate New York and we need it now.'"

According to Sampson, the natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing could generate about $78 million in state revenue next year.  

"These proposals dealing with taxes and with the Marcellus Shale all relate just to Upstate New York," said Kenmore's Robin Schimminger, chairman of the Assembly's Economic Development Committee.

"And that's, I think, as it really, really, really should be."

Assmemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo sits on the Health and Environmental Conservation committees. People-Stokes says while she supports cutting taxes, fracking is another matter.  
"I can tell you, unless the Health Department comes up with some unequivocal, unequivocal, proof that Marcellus Shale drilling will not have any impact on water, I won't be supportive with you on that part of it. But the rest of it, I'm certainly looking forward to working with you on how we can figure get some of these things done."

Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher Cohen says the New Era plan will allow Upstate to prosper.

The plan's expected to cost about $860 million, or less than one percent, of the projected 2014 state budget.