Galef/Leibell Bill Addresses Putnam County Tax Issue

Legislature passes bill that will subject state owned land to taxation, easing the burden on local taxpayers
June 28, 2004

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Vincent L. Leibell are pleased to announce the passage of legislation (A.6329A/S. 2359A) that will directly affect the residents of Putnam County. After much hard work and lobbying on behalf of their constituents, Galef and Leibell were able to push through legislation that will subject all state owned land in Putnam County to local real property taxation starting in January of 2007.

Nearby Rockland County has a similar law already on the books that allows towns in that county to collect tax on such land but local municipalities in Putnam have no claim to taxation of these state owned parcels. This legislation would put Putnam County on the same footing with Rockland.

"I applaud the state’s commitment to acquiring and preserving parkland in New York State," commented Senator Leibell, "but I don’t like to see the residents of my district put at a disadvantage because of it. I have received many inquiries in my office over the years from constituents who are concerned and feel that they are unfairly ‘footing the bill.’ I am pleased to have been able to work with Assemblywoman Galef to positively address this matter and pass legislation that will make a marked difference in the lives of the people of Putnam County."

Assemblywoman Galef agreed. "I am thrilled that the taxpayers of Putnam will be receiving direct tax relief for all the land acquired by the state," said Galef. "This is one of the most significant accomplishments for the district that Senator Leibell and I represent and it was certainly a difficult challenge for us to pass these bills in the state legislature. Fixing the tax inequity that has occurred for too long in Putnam and bringing approximately $1.84 million in tax revenue every year based on the assessed value of the land will help all local taxpayers. This new law, when signed by the Governor, will assure tax payments by the state and permit increased payments as the value of state land rises."

During the past several years, New York State has acquired a large number of acreage for environmental protection, parks, and watershed protection. Presently, the county has been receiving an appropriation in the state budget as a payment in lieu of taxes. This legislation amends the Real Property code to make such payments permanent and more substantial through assessment of the property.