Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a eight-minute video today to promote the benefits of the property-tax cap going into effect in January.
“Local property taxes are simply out of control,” Cuomo said.
He reiterated comments he made to Gannett’s Albany Bureau last week, saying the property-tax cap is working.
“With all of the debate about how to best solve our economic problems at least one thing is clear, we must be smart, cut waste and we must do more with less. And while it is certainly difficult, it is not impossible,” Cuomo said.
He said upstate New York has the top 15 counties who pay the highest property taxes compared to home value. He said Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties pay the most in total property taxes.
The Democratic governor said property taxes have grown at more than 6 percent a year over the past decade, saying the rate is unsustainable. Cuomo has faced criticism from local governments about the effects of the cap; they say it’s leading to job cuts and fewer services.
In the message, Cuomo took specific aim at schools, saying school enrollment has declined by four percent over the past 15 years but the number of supervisors grew by 34 percent and the number of teachers rose by nine percent. He said spending on administrators’ salaries is 51 percent above the national average.
He said the cap is already making a difference, citing state Comptroller’s Office data said shows of the roughly 400 governments who have indicated their budget plans, 85 percent are planning to stay with the 2 percent property-tax cap.
Cuomo said the tax cap is creating increased scrutiny over local government spending, saying it empowers citizens. If they want to override the cap, they can do so with 60 percent of the vote of their local governing board or by 60 percent of voters on school budgets, he continued.
“I believe you can have effective government that makes a difference in peoples’ lives and a government that is cost effective and respects the tax payer. That’s what we’re working towards. I believe in a government that works for you. That’s what we’re doing here in Albany every day, and that’s what you should demand from your local government,” Cuomo said.
Gannett’s Albany Bureau has put together a database of all the local governments so far who have indicated whether they will stay within the cap. You can find it here.