Gov. Andrew Cuomo today called for a property-tax freeze for homeowners with incomes under $500,000.
The budget included a two-year plan to provide $2 billion in tax breaks to homeowners and businesses and close a $1.7 billion deficit by limiting state spending to less than 1.7 percent.
Cuomo estimated his plan would create a $500 million surplus this year that would grow to $2 billion in two years. The surplus would fund Cuomo’s initiatives as he seeks a second term in November.
Including federal aid, state spending would increase 1.3 percent.
Cuomo’s budget proposal will head to the state Legislature for approval. They have until March 31 to approve or modify the spending plan.
They have passed an on-time budget for the past three years after struggling for decades to get an on-time deal. In 2010, budget talks went on until August, a few days shy of the record set in 2004.
Cuomo made limiting property taxes a key plank of his budget proposal. New York has among the highest property taxes in the nation.
Property taxes would be frozen for two years, costing the state $400 million in the first year and $976 million in the second year.
In order to get a property-tax freeze in the second year, local governments and schools would need to implement a plan to save at least 1 percent in the tax levy. The savings would need to grow by 1 percent in each of the subsequent years.
“When you hear people complain, they complain about the property tax,” Cuomo said.
In the 2015-16 fiscal year, the state would begin to implement a plan to tie property taxes to household incomes.
When fully phased in over three years, it would help 1.9 million homeowners with an average annual tax break of $500, Cuomo’s budget documents show.