Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-C Chautauqua) concluded the 2011 Legislative session by supporting a property tax cap and several mandate relief provisions designed to save taxpayers about $127 million a year.
The property tax cap would limit future tax increases to 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, unless approved by a 60% supermajority of legislators or taxpayers. If an initial school budget is not approved by the necessary vote, it can be adjusted and resubmitted to the taxpayers. If the budget fails to receive the required vote, the school tax levy would be frozen at its existing level.
New York State suffers from the highest property tax rates in the nation, with nine out of the top ten highest taxed counties located in New York State. According to the independent nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Chautauqua County ranked 5th highest in the nation in 2009.
These taxes hurt senior citizens, those on limited incomes, and all other property owners. These exorbitant taxes also hurt local businesses and drive people and jobs from New York State. Indeed, more people left New York State during the last 10 years than any other State in the nation. “It is critical for our future to take strong and effective steps to control our property taxes,” said Mr. Goodell.
“The mandate relief package would save taxpayers millions of dollars a year, but is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr. Goodell. “New York State needs to make meaningful Medicaid reform, pension reform, and numerous other reforms needed to cut the size and the cost of government.”
Although the Assembly Minority proposed a bold amendment to the tax cap bill that would have brought millions of dollars in mandate relief to our local governments across New York State, the Majority, led by Sheldon Silver, shot down this chance to save money for our local governments. The Assembly Minority amendment would have eliminated future growth in Medicaid costs for counties, saving $165 million a year. “Unfortunately, the Assembly Majority blocked this amendment, thereby, forcing our counties to pay higher Medicaid costs.
The good news regarding mandate relief is the formation of a Mandate Relief Council to identify all statutes that impose an unfunded mandate on local governments. The governor is then required to prepare and submit to the legislature the necessary legislation to repeal or modify the mandate.
The Mandate Relief Council might result in more consideration of important mandate reforms,” said Mr. Goodell. “I am proud to be a co-sponsor of several bills that would implement real mandate relief,” said Mr. Goodell. “Although some of my bills have bipartisan support, the Assembly Majority has refused to allow the bills to come to the floor for a vote. Hopefully, the Mandate Relief Council will help force a vote on these critical reforms.”
“Although the mandate relief provisions of this legislation are woefully inadequate, this legislation is an important step in the right direction. We now need to focus our efforts on substantial cost-cutting measures,” concluded Mr. Goodell.