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.
Based on initial descriptions, the delayed end-of-session "big ugly" package deal announced Tuesday afternoon by Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders is simply confounding on the subject of property taxes.
Although Cuomo and Senate Republicans both said they wanted to make the state's 2 percent property tax cap permanent, the cap apparently will be extended only temporarily.
The Empire Center argues that the tax cap as it is written now is working and should be made permanent. E.J. McMahon, the president and founder of the Empire Center, makes the case for the cap. McMahon will also discuss new data on firefighter pensions.
In 2010, the median property tax paid in Monroe County was $4,035 — almost twice as much the national median of $2,043. In fact, Monroe County real estate taxes as a percentage of home value ranked second highest in the nation out of 806 counties. The same is true across the region. The median property tax paid in Livingston and Ontario counties each exceeded $3,000.
Don't look now, but given current inflation trends, next year's school property tax cap may be ... zero!
That's the message of a statement released last week by the Educational Conference Board (ECB), a coalition of groups representing public school administrators, school boards and—last but hardly least—the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) labor union.
The ECB's "warning" was meant as an inside-the-Albany-bubble scare tactic, but for most New Yorkers, it's good news: further confirmation that the tax cap is working exactly as intended.
Since the state’s property tax cap was enacted a few years ago, local leaders’ expectations on how much they can squeeze folks have been properly adjusted.
The tax cap is accomplishing its goal of reining in runaway property tax increases, and should be extended.