Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) today announced that he looks forward to discussing his plan to permanently lower property taxes for New York homeowners. Reilich’s optimism follows recent comments by Governor Spitzer who said that he would be willing to discuss a property tax cap.
Reilich noted that property taxes statewide have risen 42 percent between 2000 and 2005, while wages grew only by 12 percent. “We need to limit the growth of property taxes in order to help seniors, young families and other hard working men and women afford their property taxes and remain in their homes,” said Reilich. “While I support the governor’s Middle-Class STAR rebate program, at the rate property taxes are increasing, this plan will be no more than fiscal Novocain.”
Assemblyman Reilich and his Assembly Minority Conference colleagues are sponsoring the Property Taxpayer Protection Act, which would lower property taxes by limiting the amount a school district can increase tax levies to four percent annually or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. However, voters have the ability to override the cap by a two-thirds majority vote. The bill would also:
- Require any state mandate (costing more than $10,000 annually or $1 million statewide) that is imposed on a school district or municipality to be paid for by the state.
- Provide 100 percent reimbursement to schools for costs incurred from 4th and 8th grade Math and English tests.
- Create the Office of State Inspector General for Education to investigate financial abuse, corruption and misconduct in schools.
- Consolidate school district paperwork requirements, saving time and money.
- Provide municipalities the option to pool insurance costs with the goal of saving taxpayer dollars.
- Require the state to take over the costs of all optional Medicaid services within five years, saving property taxpayers nearly $10 billion.
- Provide necessary funds to counties to buy software for Medicaid fraud investigations.
- Provide financial incentives and other assistance to localities to consolidate local government services.
“By requiring the state to finance many of the costs that counties now pay while limiting the growth of the school district tax levies, we can implement a plan that will deliver long-term property tax relief for homeowners,” remarked Reilich. “If the governor is serious about debating a cap on property taxes, then I look forward to having an open discussion with him regarding our proposal.”