Budget Talks Stall; Kolb Demands Property Tax Reform

Assembly majority refuses to budge on property tax relief
March 25, 2006

Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today pledged his support for meaningful property tax relief for New York’s homeowners in the state budget that is due in less than a week. Property tax relief has yet to be discussed in the ongoing budget talks, noted Kolb.

“While budget negotiations have been successful in some areas, many important issues, especially property tax relief, have been pushed to the back burner,” stated Kolb.

The Assembly minority revealed their property tax plan months ago, yet members of the majority continue to ignore it, said Kolb. Budget talks have stalled, and members of both sides of the aisle are at impasse over how to deal with property taxes.

“I believe the most important issue facing property owners today is the burden of property taxes,” said Kolb. “As legislators, we need to provide as much relief to the homeowners in our state, this year.”

Kolb noted New York property owners pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, forcing many homeowners to move to other states. He further criticized the majority property tax relief proposal offered last month as a “weak” plan that provides virtually no relief for an average New York family.

Under the majority plan, a homeowner’s property taxes must be greater than 7.5 percent of the household income to receive tax relief, meaning a working family with a household income of $70,000 and a property tax bill of $5,250 or less would not receive any relief. The maximum amount homeowners could receive if they qualified under the majoarity plan would be $200 this year.

While many homeowners do not pay more than 7.5 percent of their combined household income in property taxes, the burden is still crushing when it’s 5, 6 or 7 percent of one’s combined income. Kolb said legislators must consider the state, federal, gas, sales and numerous other taxes that New Yorkers pay, on top of health care, education and other household costs incurred year-round.

Under the Assembly minority plan, every homeowner receiving a School Tax Relief (STAR) program exemption would receive additional and substantial property tax relief. An average property owner would save $715 annually, the average senior citizen $1,256.

The minority plan also increases STAR exemption rates to better reflect today’s property taxes and calls for a Co-STAR program to reduce county taxes. It proposes an elimination of unfunded state mandates, a major crackdown on Medicaid waste and fraud, and holding the line on runaway spending so the relief is lasting.