This year, during his 2008 State of the State address, Governor Spitzer renewed his pledge for long-term property tax relief and expressed his support for exploring a property tax cap. I am pleased the governor decided to include the idea of a property tax cap in the debate to solve New York’s growing property tax crisis. The idea of capping property taxes is not new, but rather was first proposed in my “New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act,” which includes several ideas that, if implemented, would provide a permanent solution to the property tax problem.
The Property Taxpayers Protection Act aims to provide relief by bringing together many long-standing property tax reduction measures that Long Islanders support, such as capping property tax levies at a maximum of 4 percent or at the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. My plan would also give residents the opportunity to vote against rising taxes by calling for a 2/3 majority vote to instate any proposals that would increase or create taxes, giving local residents a greater voice before taxes are imposed.
Additionally, our plan helps lower your tax burden by cutting costs for localities. The Property Taxpayers Protection Act would provide funding for Albany-mandated programs for schools and would tackle the Medicaid waste that is costing taxpayers billions every year. Our plan also helps the State Legislature make smarter choices by stipulating any bill that enacts or amends local programs must include the cost of the bill. This way, legislators will know the direct fiscal impact on each community before voting.
The Property Taxpayers Protection Act has gained popular support within our Conference and our constituents across the state, especially in highly taxed areas like Long Island. It also appears that my efforts to cut taxes have been noticed by Governor Spitzer as well as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who recently expressed their desire to enact real property tax reforms this year.
To remind both the Governor and Speaker Silver of their commitment to cut property taxes, I joined with members of our Conference to unveil a “Property Tax Cap Countdown Clock” right outside of the Assembly Chamber. The clock will count down to April 1, 2008, which is the state’s fiscal deadline and our deadline for Albany lawmakers to enact a tax cap, like the one in our Property Taxpayers Protection Act.
As the minutes count down, I will continue to stand up for taxpayers in Suffolk County and urge lawmakers to do the right thing and enact the Property Taxpayers Protection Act now.