Galef Encourages Vote on Bill to Establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on Property Tax Reform

June 18, 2007

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, of the 90th Assembly District, proposed legislation to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on property tax reform, Assembly Bill A.3005 and Senate bill S.1052 sponsored by Senator Betty Little, and is calling for its immediate adoption by the Assembly.

Galef explains, “In the past five years, real property taxes in New York have increased by about 42%, making our property tax burden the fourth highest in the country. This burden is causing the flight of many citizens, discouraging others from settling in our state, and is driving away vital resources and businesses.”

This bill will establish an eleven member Blue Ribbon Commission to study and make recommendations on specific areas of property tax reform with the goal of reducing property taxes. It will examine many things, such as:

  • How municipalities are structured
  • Alternative funding of school systems, a blended revenue system
  • Whether or not to continue the STAR Program and in what form
  • The possibility to consolidate services
  • Spending control and local tax growth
  • Equity in how to tax property owners

This past winter Assemblywoman Galef proposed a questionnaire to county and local officials, assessors, tax receivers and taxpayer groups, asking several questions regarding real property tax. One question discussed whether or not New York State should establish a Blue Ribbon Panel to seek out alternative methods of funding schools and to make legislative recommendations. Ninety percent (90%) of responders believed taking this action was necessary.

“Before providing much needed relief, it is necessary to study the current system and the feasibility of alternatives. We need a broad statewide discussion about what our state needs to do in order to become competitive and relieve our residents of this tax burden,” stated Galef.

This bill passed the Senate on May 9, 2007 and passed through the Assembly’s Real Property Tax Committee on January 30th and is currently in the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee awaiting action. There are 46 Assembly sponsors of this legislation and it has received support from New York State Association of Counties, New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officers, New York State School Boards Association, The Association of Towns of the State of New York, New York State Taxpayers Union, City of Albany Common Council, New York Farm Bureau, a Tri-County Committee for Property Tax Relief which represents Essex, Warren, and Washington Counties, The Otsego County Chamber, The National Federation of Independent Business, Nassau County Department of Assessment, New York City Department of Finance, Saratoga County Directors Association, Town of Hague, and Verizon.