Governor Cuomo Signs Three Bills in Buffalo

Signs bill lowering tax rate, next step of college tuition program, and "Innovation Hub" at UB

Mike Baggerman
April 19, 2018 - 5:15 pm

Governor Andrew Cuomo signs three bills which will lower the tax rate for middle class citizens, provide subsidized college tuition to families making $110,000 or less, and create an innovation hub at the University at Buffalo (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed a measure to lower taxes for middle class residents and began the next stage of his subsidized college tuition program.

Governor Cuomo said that for people making between $40,000 and $150,000 the rate will go from 6.4 percent to 5.5 percent. Those making between $150,000 and $300,000 will see their tax rate go to 6.0 percent from 6.6 percent.

"Every New Yorker pays a lower tax rate today than the day I took office," Cuomo said at the Jacobs School of Medicine in Buffalo. "Every New Yorker. We have the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968, the lowest manufacturing rate since 1917, and the lowest middle class tax rate since 1948."

The governor also began the next phase of his "free" college tuition program for middle class families. Now, families who earn $110,000 or less received subsidized college tuition. The first phase of the Excelsior Scholarship gave families making up to $125,000 the ability to receive the scholarship.

To be eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship, students must be New York State residents, plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY college, take 30 credits per year (including Summer and Winter sessions), and be on track to graduate on time with an Associate's Degree in two years or a Bachelor's Degree in four years. Recipients must also plan to live in New York State for the length of time they received the award.

"This is a game changer," the governor said. "This is a life changer. One time in society we decided we should offer people free high school. Why? Because the economy was getting more complex. The world was getting more complex. It wasn't good enough just to have an elementary education. We needed a high school education. So society said we were going to make high school free because we need that skill set for all of us to do better. Today, if you look at the economy and the way it's going, you're going to need a college education to be competitive."

Cuomo said the free college tuition will benefit families and the state too because SUNY schools are receiving an increase in applications.

Along with the prior announcements, it was announced on Thursday that Empire State Development approved $32 million for an innovation hub at the University at Buffalo as part of the Buffalo Billion II initiative.

"This university is the largest public university in the state," ESD President Howard Zemsky said. "Between more than 30,000 students and over 2,500 faculty members, just think about the amount of research and innovation that comes out of this school. Combine that with nearby partners...and think about all the opportunity we have to take that promising research and to finally, for the first time, commercialize it."

WATCH: Governor Cuomo's visits the UB Jacobs School of Medicine on April 19, 2018


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