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New laws for 2015: tax credits, a pay raise and ban on pictures with big cats

Now that it's 2015, a handful of new laws go into action in New York state. They range from new tax credits to bans on taking picture with some large cats. Here's a roundup:

Hiring incentives

Businesses that employ veterans or people with developmental disabilities will receive a state tax refund for each new hire starting this year, worth 5 to 15 percent of each worker’s salaries.  Higher credits apply to companies that hire veterans with physical disabilities. Lower credits apply for part-time hires. The programs run for two years.

Helping homeless vets

Also for veterans, the state is creating a fund to help place homeless vets in stable housing. There will be a line on your tax return form to contribute directly. 

On with the show

There’s a new tax credit for theatrical productions staged upstate. Eligible companies will be able to claim refund for a quarter of certain production expenses.


It’s now illegal to toss old electronics, like televisions or laptops, out with the trash – so find an approved drop-off site. 

The workplace

New York’s minimum wage went up 75 cents an hour, to $8.75, for nearly 300,000 employees. But if you want to work in a nursing home or adult care facility, you’ll now have to pass a background check. 


Under a five-year-old state law with a provision that kicks in this year, using long-term health insurance for end of life care, such as hospice, is now allowed. 

For younger New Yorkers, creditors are now required to place a credit record freeze on the account of someone under the age of 18 when a report is requested by a parent or guardian. Lawmakers say this will protect children from identity theft. 


Finally, get your selfies with lions and tigers in soon – taking photos with big cats becomes outlawed in February.