Support Property Tax Cap Legislation
The New York State Assembly will be voting on Governor Cuomos 2% Property Tax Cap Legislation (A.3982). This same piece of legislation was passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support in the Senate 45-17. As you know, New Yorkers have paid some of the highest real property taxes in the country, with homeowner taxes in most of the state ranging from 30 percent to 178 percent above the national average. Over the past decade, property taxes have grown more than double the inflation rate.
Governor Cuomos proposed legislation would cap annual growth in the local property tax levies (excluding New York City) to a maximum of 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Any tax increase above the cap would need a supermajority approval by more than 60 percent of the voters in a school district or two-thirds of the governing body in a county, city, town, village or special district. The bill would allow for a simple-majority of the voters to approve any school tax increase that was below the cap.
If the voters reject a districts tax hike, after two referendums, the tax levy would revert to the previous years level, a zero increase. Taxpayers would not have to worry about having a contingency budget forced upon them that typically included a higher tax levy than the budget that voters had defeated.
E. J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Empire Center for NYS Policy has spoken positively of this legislation and offered research on the positive effects it can have on our states economy. As hes shown using Massachusetts Proposition 2 1/2, they have not suffered a decline in services and their schools ranks as some of the best in the nation.
The bill will be coming up shortly in the Assembly. With passage of this bill, it will tackle one of our states biggest problems: over taxation of real property. Also, an enactment of a Property Tax Cap will further highlight the need for significant mandate relief that will give local governments and school districts the flexibility they need to restructure their budgets.