New York tax and spending measures clear the Senate in Round 1

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January 21, 2011

ALBANY, New York: Three legislative bills cleared the New York Senate on January 19. Two may appear before voters for final approval in 2013.

Of the two questions that may appear on upcoming ballots, one measure would impose a state spending cap of 2 percent a year or 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. The cap, however could be overturned in the event of a fiscal emergency declared by the governor and certified by the comptroller.[1] In the case of a surplus, part of the additional funds would go towards the reserve fund and the rest would be returned to the taxpayers.[2] The measure is sponsored by Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

On the other hand, Sen. Lee Zeldin has proposed a Supermajority Vote Tax Requirement. The measure would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to approve new taxes.[3][4] More specifically, the two-thirds vote would be required for any "increase, extension, imposition or restoration of any tax, fee, assessment, surcharge or any other such levy change."[5]

Both measures were approved in the Senate following a 41-19 vote. However, in order to qualify for upcoming ballots they must receive a majority vote in two successive legislative sessions. The earliest the measures can appear on the ballot is 2013.

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