Gov. Andrew Cuomo said property taxes would be the top priority for his new tax-cutting commission.
In addition to the high taxes in the New York City area, upstate counties, including Monroe County, pay the highest property taxes compared to home values in the nation.
The panel will be headed by former Gov. George Pataki and former Comptroller Carl McCall.
Others named to the panel are Denis Hughes, former president of the AFL-CIO in New York, and Heather Briccetti, president of the state Business Council. Dall Forsythe, a former budget director, will also be on the panel, as will former Buffalo-area Rep. Jack Quinn.
Cuomo touted the bi-partisan nature of the commission. Cuomo has highlighted his ability to work with Republicans and Democrats in Albany—particularly at a time when Washington is gridlocked.
Pataki, who lives in Garrison, Putnam County, is the three term Republican governor who defeated Cuomo’s father, Mario, in 1994. McCall is a former Democratic comptroller who Cuomo unsuccessfully challenged for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002.
Pataki joked that he thought Cuomo had the wrong number when he first called him to serve on the panel, but said the effort is sincere.
“I believe that this commission can work together in the public interest and suggest significant tax relief that will help the people of this state with their tax burden and will help our economy grow to create the jobs we need,” Pataki said.
Pataki, who has toyed with running for president, blasted the inaction in Washington, alluding to the federal government shutdown. Cuomo is considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
“It’s hard to say this calmly, but government has to work. When you look at what is happening in Washington, it’s extremely sad for the people of this country,” Pataki said. “Elections are political. Governing should be able the people and the public interest.”