screen-shot-2015-06-17-at-2-45-44-pm-150x150-9870163With only hours to go in the state legislative session, are Senate Republicans angling to drill new loopholes in the state’s property tax cap?

It sure sounds like it, based on Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s comments to the news media late this morning.

From a report in Capital Pro (subscription required):

“A lot of our members have advocated for minor changes in the cap. There’s an issue involving [payments in lieu of taxes] … there’s been talk about municipal, and also BOCES,” State Senate Republican leader John Flanagan said Wednesday after a closed-door meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo. “I can’t represent to you fairly that that is part of any final agreement, because frankly, there isn’t one yet.”

What? Less than a month ago, the Senate passed a bill making the tax cap permanent—with no exceptions or exclusions. Governor Andrew Cuomo also has said he wants a permanent cap with no added loopholes.

Yet now, according to their leader, “a lot” of Senate Republicans are advocating for changes to the cap?

Meanwhile, also this morning, the New York State United Teachers union (NYSUT) and groups representing school districts and local governments—i.e., consumers of property tax revenue—banded together outside the Senate chamber for yet another news conference to let the world know they don’t like the tax cap.  They have a list of proposed new cap loopholes, including repeal of the 60 percent “supermajority” requirement for tax cap overrides.

Their arguments all boil down to the same objective: make it easier to raise taxes higher and faster. Otherwise—warning!—we might not be able to raise taxes at all next year!

It would be ironic, to say the least, if Senate Republicans—who have previously positioned themselves as tax cap champions—were to become instruments of its unraveling.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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