sos-150x150-6254504Governor Andrew Cuomo’s combined State of the State and budget message today included a promise to make permanent the historic property tax cap enacted at his initiative in 2011.

Under current law, the tax cap is awkwardly linked to continuation of New York City’s rent control laws, which are due to expire in June. The cap can stay in effect beyond June 2016 only as long as rent control statutes are extended (probably and presumably, that is).

Late in last year’s campaign, Cuomo pledged to extend the cap without clarifying whether he meant to have it last beyond his own tenure. Today he seemed to clear up that question.

The wording in the State of the State “book,” as opposed to the budget message, is short, but unequivocal:

“The Governor’s property tax cap has delivered billions of dollars in relief to New York’s homeowners. The cap is set to sunset in 2016. Governor Cuomo will propose that the legislature makes the cap permanent, to continue protecting New York taxpayers.”

Unfortunately, more than an hour after the presentation ended last this afternoon, the State of State book was nowhere to be found online.  But this much, at least, physically exists (on page 24 of the State of the State book):


If Cuomo follows through, it will be great news for New York property owners, homeowners and businesses alike. The cap has already had a dramatic impact on the spending behavior of local governments, especially school districts. Assuming Cuomo successfully proposes erasing the tax cap sunset date — with no other caveats or conditions — he will have assured that he leaves behind an enduringly positive legacy for New York local taxpayers.

PS — No legislation making permanent the cap is included in budget documents posted late this afternoon, at least at first glance. But the cap is not really part of the budget, nor does it need to be. The big question ahead is when and how Cuomo will seek to address the issue: in a separate program bill, or as a condition for extending rent regulations, or … what? Nonetheless, the promise has now been made. He now needs to deliver on this signature issue. (Senate Republicans previously have taken the same position in favor of tax cap permanence, by the way.)

PPS — It’s really this simple: as in 2011, Senate Republicans back the cap, and Assembly Democrats need to extend the rent control law.  The governor, joined by the Senate, can make a permanent cap a condition for agreeing to the rent control extension.  This is all the leverage Cuomo needs to get this done, once and for all.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

New Jersey’s Pandemic Report Shines Harsh Light on a New York Scandal

A recently published independent review of New Jersey's pandemic response holds lessons for New York on at least two levels. First, it marked the only serious attempt by any state t Read More

Hochul’s ‘Straight Talk’ on Medicaid Isn’t Straight Enough

Arguably the biggest Medicaid news in Governor Hochul's budget presentation was about the current fiscal year, not the next one: The state-run health plan is running substantially over budget. Read More

DeRosa Is Still Hiding the Truth About Cuomo’s Pandemic Response

As the long-time top aide to former Governor Andrew Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa ought to have useful information to share about the state's pandemic response – especially about what went wrong and how the state could be better Read More

One Brooklyn Health’s Money Troubles Raise a Billion-Dollar Question

A brewing fiscal crisis at One Brooklyn Health, which has received more than $1 billion in turnaround funding from the state, raises the question of whether that money has been well spent. Read More

Beware of Medicaid’s Spending Swings

The state's Medicaid spending is becoming increasingly volatile from month to mo Read More

Emails Confirm That Cuomo’s Staff Launched Its ‘Book’ Project in March 2020

A pair of state-employed writers began researching, outlining and drafting a book about Governor Andrew Cuomo's pandemic response in late March 2020, weeks before New York's harrowing first wave had passed, according to newly disclosed email records. Read More

A Politically Active Medical Group Gains Access to Funds for ‘Distressed’ Providers

A politically connected medical group in the Bronx garnered an unusual benefit in the new state budget – access to money previously reserved for financially troubled safety-net hospitals and nursing homes. Read More

Hochul’s ‘Pay and Resolve’ Push for Hospitals Triggers Déjà Vu

Two years ago last week, I wrote in the Daily News about how then-Governor Andrew Cuomo was pushing a costly change to insurance law on behalf of a hospital group that had supported his campaign through a fund-rai Read More