Joseph Spector

ALBANY – New Yorkers might think the wealthy enclaves on Long Island and Westchester County pay the highest taxes in the state.

They do, but when you account for taxes compared to home values, it is the small, low-wealth communities in New York that put the highest percentage toward property taxes, a recently released report showed.

“New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation,” according to the report from the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank in New York.

“However, property tax burdens within the Empire State differ widely.”

The highest effective tax rate in New York – the annual tax bill divided by the market value of your property – belonged to Liberty, a small village in Sullivan County with a population of less than 5,000.

It had an effective rate of $60.81 per $1,000 of estimated market value – or $9,121 on a $150,000 house, the Empire Center found.

The lowest effective tax rate in the state was $3.93 per $1,000, levied on homes and businesses in the Sagaponack school district portion of the Suffolk County town of Southampton – one of the wealthiest communities in the state.

“That low rate reflected the town’s high property values, where the latest Census Bureau data put the median home price at $626,400,” the group said.

Lloyd Harbor, another Suffolk County village, had combined annual taxes of $38,341 on a median-value home.

The lowest tax bill on a median-value home was $1,128 in the Hamilton County town of Arietta in the Raquette Lake school district.

New York has long had two issues at play: Wealthy communities pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, while upstate communities often pay the most compared to home values, which are lower than in downstate.

To combat the problem, New York installed a property-tax cap in 2011 that limits the growth in property taxes to no more than 2% a year.

The cap has worked.

Property taxes in New York rose on average 4.2% between 2005 and 2012, a report this month by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found.

Since then, the average increase has been 1.7%.

In the Finger Lakes, the village of Medina, Orleans County, paid the highest effective tax rate in the region at $54.69 per $1,000 of home value.

The city of Binghamton had the highest rate in the Southern Tier at $59.30 per $1,000 of home value.

The report was based on data collected annually by the state Comptroller’s Office.

© 2019 Democrat and Chronicle

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Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
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Phone: 518-434-3100
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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.