CONTACT: Tim Hoefer
With New Yorkers preparing to vote on school budget propositions next Tuesday, the Empire Center today released an Internet-based tool allowing taxpayers to compute and compare total school district, municipal and county tax burdens in thousands of communities across the state.
The Empire Center also issued a summary report ranking the “Top 20” and “Bottom 20” effective tax rates in every region of the state, along with a ranking of effective tax rates in cities. The rankings are based on data from the state comptroller’s office.
Tim Hoefer, director of the Empire Center, said today’s report and the new property tax search tool linked on the “Benchmarking NY” tab at the Center’s SeeThroughNY.net website present property tax burdens in much finer detail than the Tax Foundation’s widely publicized national ranking of tax burdens at the county level, which are based on U.S. Census surveys. In fact, Hoefer noted, the median effective tax rates for many upstate communities are higher than the county-level medians reported by the Tax Foundation.
“Many New York towns and cities contain parts of multiple school districts and villages, which means there are literally thousands of different combinations of taxing jurisdictions to compare,” Hoefer noted. “Our web tool makes it possible for users to drill down to a specific school district in a particular town, and to easily compare multiple jurisdictions. Since school districts typically represent the largest portion of property tax bills, we believe it is especially useful to have the data available in advance of budget votes on May 17.”
The Empire Center’s property tax database excludes only New York City and Nassau County, which use complex property classification systems that can make the effective tax rates especially misleading, Hoefer said.
BenchmarkingNY’s popular local government budget and revenue comparison tool, which allows users to view and compare spending between local governments and school districts, excluding only New York City, has also been updated to include the most current data available.
As reflected in the Empire Center rankings, New York’s highest effective property tax rates are imposed in cities and rural areas with low property values, while the lowest effective rates are found in resort communities and wealthy areas with very high property values. Highlights of the report’s findings include the following:
Residents of the Village of Wellsville in Western New York bear the state’s heaviest property tax burden, with an effective rate of $62.20 per $1,000, which is more than double the regional median.
The lowest-taxed community in the state is the Village of Sagaponack in Long Island’s Hamptons, which had an effective rate of just $1.32.
Fulton, in Oswego County, is the most heavily taxed city in New York, with an effective rate of $51.14.
The Rye School District portion of the City of Rye in Westchester County is the lowest-taxed area within cities, with an effective rate of $15.68.