Of all the challenges facing New York State, none presents as clear and present a danger to our quality of life as runaway property taxes. You already know the facts: our homeowners pay the highest property taxes in America, we endure the nation's second-highest combined state and local tax burden, and nine of the ten highest taxed counties, as a percentage of home value, in the country are located right here in upstate. Property taxes are destroying jobs, killing New York's economic recovery and forcing thousands of homeowners to leave our state. If these combined threats do not constitute a crisis, I am unsure what does. The good news? There is a real solution to this crisis. The solution is the cap.
CAP PROPERTY TAXES, GIVE HOMEOWNERS REAL RELIEF
The first step toward ending New York's property tax crisis is capping the future growth of these levies. This means getting a real property tax cap on the books, just as I have called for the past several years. Going all the way back to 2007, I have sponsored various property tax cap and property tax relief bills, including the "New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act," presently Assembly Bill A.3897-B. This initiative provides real property tax relief and limits the burden on homeowners and businesses by capping property tax increases at two percent or the rate of inflation - whichever is lower.
Equally important, the legislation I have championed includes significant unfunded mandate relief for local governments and school districts, an issue that I have been calling attention to well before the current session was underway. The bill I sponsored would relieve school districts of costly paperwork requirements; reduce County Medicaid costs; strengthen financial accountability over school tax dollars and promote local government efficiency.
STANDING UP FOR PROPERTY TAX RELIEF
Sponsoring a property tax cap bill such as the New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act is a good start, but, by itself, will not solve the crisis of rising property taxes. Legislators need to stand up, speak out and make change happen. This is exactly what I did last week when I called on the Assembly Majority to step up to the plate and finally pass the property tax cap.
I was not alone, as the Senate Majority Conference - who passed Governor Cuomo's property tax cap bill back on January 31 - and organizations supporting the cap also pressed for action. Unshackle Upstate, the National Federation of Independent Business, the New York State Association of Realtors, the Business Council of New York State, and numerous local Chambers of Commerce all joined me in advocating for the property tax cap.
MAJORITY OF NEW YORKERS SUPPORT THE PROPERTY TAX CAP
Statewide public opinion polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of New York homeowners strongly support a property tax cap and believe it belongs at the very top of Albany's to-do list. In fact, according to a recent poll taken by Long Island's Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, enacting the property tax cap is a top priority for New York voters with the cap favored by a margin of 79-17 percent.
As this and other poll results clearly demonstrate, the "silent majority" of overtaxed New York homeowners and businesses will be silent no more. People are raising their voices in support of the property tax cap. Their message to Albany and the Assembly Majority is clear: No more excuses. No more delays. No more stall tactics. Pass the property tax cap now!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.