Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced today the passage of the Affordable Housing Act (A.8518) that would provide relief for working families across the state by capping growth in local property tax levies at two percent. The legislation also includes significant mandate relief for local government and school districts.
"Hardworking men and women across this state pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation and need real relief in order to be able to stay, work and raise their families in New York State," said Silver (D-Manhattan), earlier today. "The combination of this property tax cap and significant mandate relief for municipalities will provide real savings for taxpayers while also encouraging governments to rein in spending."
The measure would require school districts and local government entities – including towns, cities, villages, counties, fire districts and all special districts, except New York City – to cap increases in real property taxes at two percent or the rate of inflation, over the previous year’s levy, whichever is less. For school districts, the two-percent cap may be exceeded with 60 percent of a public vote. For local governments, the cap may be exceeded with the approval of 60 percent of the governing body. If a local government or school district is under the limit, up to 1.5 percent of the previous year’s levy may be carried over to the next year. In addition, local governments and school districts would be allowed to adjust the tax levy when there is a growth in the property base.
This tax cap would take effect for the 2012 fiscal year for local governments and for the 2012-2013 school budget year. The cap would sunset at the end of 2016 unless rent regulation laws are extended and in that case the cap would continue to be in effect so long as rent regulation laws remain in effect.
The Affordable Housing Act also includes a mandate relief package that will help cut more than $100 million in unnecessary expenses.
"By eliminating state mandates that at onetime were well meaning but are now outdated and unrealistic, we free up local governments to more efficiently serve taxpayers," said Majority Leader Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes). "This long overdue legislation is a first step in what will be an ongoing effort by the legislature and the governor to relieve local governments of unnecessary state mandates and lessen the burden on taxpayers."
To help reduce the rising cost of local government operations and deliver much needed tax relief to property owners, this bill would:
Allow the Department of Transportation and local municipalities to enter into joint highway operation agreements;
Allow school districts to more closely align bus services with actual ridership;
Remove statutory salary requirements for municipal chiefs of police;
Authorize school districts to provide regional transportation services with other school districts and BOCES;
Allow municipalities to recoup police training costs when officers leave one local government to work for another within three years of their hire date; and
Permit school districts with less than 1,000 enrolled students to share superintendents.
In addition, the bill creates the Mandate Relief Council to further identify potential cost savings that may be realized by local governments with the removal of certain state mandates.