State Budget Advances the Agenda of Working Men and Women

Albany - “The No. 1 priority of the Labor Movement is always to help working men and women achieve a better life, and it is with that in mind we are pleased with the final state budget,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “A key piece included in the final spending plan will make it easier for union members to deduct the cost of their union dues from their state taxes. “This new benefit will put an estimated $35 million back into the pockets of our members inprivate sector, public sector, and building trades unions throughout the state. “We welcome this new benefit particularly at a time when the right of working people to join a union is increasingly under attack. “The Labor Movement provides the best way for working people to get ahead and this new benefit will help us in our fight to continue to grow the middle class. “On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for once again taking the lead and recognizing the value of union membership and the importance of providing the Labor Movement with another helpful tool for organizing working men and women. “I want to also thank Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Flanagan and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Klein for listening to the working men and women of this state and understanding how this new provision will positively impact the lives of all New Yorkers,” said Cilento. (*see end of statement for more detail) “Among the other issues included in the spending plan that advance the agendaof working people in the private sector, public sector and building trades are: an agreement on 421-a that spends taxpayer dollars in a responsible way by creating good middle-class jobs and more affordable housing, a commitment to fund clean water initiatives to help communities monitor and protect this most precious commodity, extension of the millionaires' tax to help address income inequality and help fund vital public services as well as infrastructure initiatives, preserving vital benefits for injured workers and giving a voice to workers, and community members on the future of Indian Point. “We remain committed to working with our partners in the legislature to continue to improve the lives of working people, now and into the future,” said Cilento. * This will increase the number of union members in the state eligible to deduct their union dues on their state tax return. Right now, only a small percentage of union members that itemize deductions on their federal taxes take this deduction due to limitations built into the law. The state budget agreement removes those limitations at the state level. Members will still need to itemize at the federal and state level to take advantage of the new deduction. For those who currently do itemize at the federal level, the state will get rid of the current limit on the deduction and allow the full amount of union dues to be deducted. Previously, only the amount in excess of 2% of an individual's adjusted gross income was deductible.