With just three work days remaining in the legislative session, a number of bills that would loosen the property-tax cap await consideration in both houses. The pending legislative efforts range from small modifications to the cap formula to allow more spending without triggering the cap’s supermajority requirement, to doing away with the supermajority requirement altogether.
Twenty-nine of the 37 districts that sought to override the property tax cap were successful in yesterday’s school budget votes, as the majority of districts elected to limit their tax increases to the cap itself.
“STAR was the first in a line of many gimmicks to address high property taxes without addressing the reasons for the high property taxes,” said Ken Girardin, spokesman for the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany. “The (tax relief) checks are a calculated effort to distract from the hard choices the state Legislature won’t make.”
Fueled by an increase in state aid and higher property taxes, the 669 school districts subject to New York’s property tax levy cap plan to spend 2.8 percent more per student in 2016-17 than they did this year, according to an analysis released today by the Empire Center for Public Policy. Per-pupil tax levies, meanwhile, would increase by an average of 1.3 percent.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has officially confirmed what federal inflation statistics were already telegraphing: New York's statutory cap on local school property tax levies will be just a hair above zero for 2016-17 school year budgets, which will be submitted for voter approval in May.
Long Island town officials are crying the blues over the budgetary squeeze supposedly created by the state’s property-tax cap. They’re not alone: You’ll hear much the same from town pols elsewhere in the metro region and across New York state.
But the thrust of their complaints — that the tax cap is somehow blocking urgent public projects and programs — just won’t hold water.
Before area taxpayers and their counterparts statewide get too excited over the looming lower property tax hike for next year, they need to be mindful of the other side of the coin.
The starting point for computing next year's local property tax cap in most of New York State will be less than 1 percent—and so state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning local governments "brace for ... [lower] growth in property tax revenues."
DiNapoli's tone clearly implies that a lower tax cap is a negative. But most property owners will no doubt see it another way.