State Senate Republicans today issued a "Blueprint for a Stronger New York" that combines a few solid big-picture tax reduction priorities with more of the wasteful "tax relief" gimmickry that's become a standard feature of the Senate GOP tax policy agenda in recent years.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is ending the year on a strong pro-taxpayer note, vetoing union-backed legislation that would have blocked the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority from imposing pay freezes to balance the county budget.
The tax cap effect was on full display in yesterday’s school budget voting.
School budgets were approved at a record-high rate of 99.3 percent, adding to evidence that districts can live within a property tax cap set at either 2 percent or the prior year’s average rate of inflation, whichever is less.
Nearly half of the 669 school districts seeking voter approval for budgets on Tuesday, May 16 are presenting spending plans that call for increasing property taxes as high as the 2011 property tax cap law allows, according to an analysis released today by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Since the cap began, a number of bills have been introduced with the aim of easing or breaking the cap — but none have gained traction. This year, there are at least 17 such measures.
"Most have come up before," said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center. The fiscally conservative government watchdog group supports keeping the current cap as is, saying it has helped get a handle on New York's highest-in-the-nation property taxes and school costs.
"This is nothing but good news for taxpayers. The cap is based on the sensible notion that the price of government shouldn't rise any faster than prices in general," E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center said in an email.
After another year of low inflation, most local governments will again base their tax caps on a growth factor of less than one percent.
The school-budget votes this year included more property-tax-cap overrides and a drop in voter turnout, a report from a school group showed.