The state Conservative Party issued a memo today to the state Assembly, urging them to pass Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s property-tax cap.
The measure passed the GOP-led Senate on Jan. 31, but it has yet to be taken up in the Democratic-controlled Assembly. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, has sponsored Cuomo’s bill, which gives supporters hope of its passage, but Silver hasn’t indicated if he plans to bring that bill to the floor for a vote.
Most believe there will be some changes to Cuomo’s bill if a tax-cap were to pass — perhaps higher than the 2 percent cap Cuomo wants or some exemptions to the cap. But the measure is now clearly being tied to a renewal of rent-control regulations in New York City and its suburbs.
“I think rent regulation and tax cap are philosophically the same thing,” Silver said yesterday. “They are designed to give people certainty that they can continue to afford the homes they live in.”
The Conservative Party’s memo comes as Cuomo is expected to ramp up his push for a tax cap in the coming weeks. It was a key plank of his campaign last year.
“The Conservative Party of NYS has been sounding the clarion call for property tax relief for years and supports this proposal that seeks to cap the annual growth rate at 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less,” the memo reads. “We urge the Members of the Assembly to pass the real property tax cap immediately. The NYS budget has passed with cuts to the programs that receive funding from real property taxes and while there is no safeguard for real property owners this year (the effective date of this proposal is 2012) those who plan budgets must have the maximum amount of time to plan.”
Here’s the full memo:
Purpose: This bill (S.2706- Skelos (passed Senate 01//31/11) A. 3982- Silver) would control the ever-rising property tax by limiting the amount by which local taxing entities (e.g. schools and local governments) may increase property taxes each year.
Party Position: The Conservative Party of NYS has been sounding the clarion call for property tax relief for years and supports this proposal that seeks to cap the annual growth rate at 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
We urge the Members of the Assembly to pass the real property tax cap immediately. The NYS budget has passed with cuts to the programs that receive funding from real property taxes and while there is no safeguard for real property owners this year (the effective date of this proposal is 2012) those who plan budgets must have the maximum amount of time to plan.
The bill is modeled on the very successful Massachusetts’ Proposition 21?2, a property tax limitation adopted in 1980. Under Proposition 21?2, the state and local tax burden in Massachusetts has decreased, without harming public services. In fact, despite the constraints imposed on school spending by Proposition 21?2, public schools in Massachusetts generally rank among the best in the country.
The cap would uniformly apply to the tax “levy” on all types of property and is 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. A 2/3 majority vote would be able to exceed the tax cap in any given year. However, school districts (which generate over 60 percent of the property taxes outside New York City) would need a supermajority of the voters to approve a tax increase exceeding the tax cap. The Governor’s Program Bill would eliminate annual voter referendums on proposed school district budgets, replacing them with votes on proposed tax levies.
An increase below the cap would still require the approval of at least a simple majority of voters. If a district’s tax hikes failed to win approval after two referendums, the tax levy would revert to the previous year’s level—a zero increase.
This bill imposes fiscal discipline on all local taxing districts and gives all owners – businesses and personal – the ability to plan effectively. The proposed tax cap will help business, unlike the STAR program that did not include business or the proposed circuit breakers that will do nothing to help control increases — it just shifts the cost.
Property owners paid a staggering 5% more in taxes in 2010 than they did in 2009 and 2009 the increase was 6% of 2008. While property taxes increased, the real property values decreased in many areas of the state. New York will never regain its Empire State status as long as it continues to allow unrestrained taxing to support its unrestrained spending.
The New York State Conservative Party strongly urges the New York State Assembly to pass this bill now.