A recent Democrat and Chronicle article titled “Property Taxes are out of Whack Here” highlighted the need to address Monroe County’s property tax nightmare. I am in complete agreement with the article and throughout my career as your assemblyman, I have made lowering property taxes my top priority.
High property taxes continue to make the American Dream of homeownership less affordable for the hardworking men and women who call Monroe County home, especially young families and seniors, many of whom live on fixed incomes. To bring immediate relief from this burdensome tax, I have continued to advocate for increasing STAR rebates for middle class homeowners and seniors.
While the STAR rebate program has provided important short-term relief for homeowners, Monroe County residents continue to see their property tax bills go up. To address this problem and find a long-term solution to the county’s skyrocketing property taxes, I am sponsoring the New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act, legislation designed to bring real and lasting relief to homeowners by shifting costs from local governments to the state, increasing state aid to local school districts and capping property taxes. When fully implemented, this legislation would save homeowners $1.5 billion this year alone.
In addition to lowering property taxes for homeowners, it is critical for us to also lower property taxes on businesses, especially small ones. In the same article, Sandy Parker, president and chief executive of the Rochester Business Alliance, brought up the need to reduce property taxes for businesses through the creation of a business STAR rebate program. What the article failed to mention was that last year, I sponsored legislation that would provide school tax exemption relief (STAR) for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Reducing property taxes for small businesses would help to create a more business-friendly atmosphere in Monroe County, ensuring that current businesses remain here while attracting new companies and, most importantly, jobs to the area.
Lowering property taxes for homeowners and businesses is the first step in bringing about an upstate economic renaissance for the region while making the dream of homeownership more affordable. Allowing property taxes to remain out of whack in Monroe County is not an option if we are serious about enacting the right kind of change that will make the region a more affordable place to live, work and run a business. Rest assured, I will continue to sponsor new and innovative legislation that is required to address this serious issue.