Hawley Calls For Property Tax Relief

A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia)

This year’s legislative session began with a lot of talk about the need to put in place property tax relieving measures, such as a property tax cap or circuit breaker. Despite calling for a cap, Governor Paterson did not include this measure in his budget proposal, nor did either house in the final 2009-10 State Budget.

As the end of the regularly scheduled legislative session draws to a close, no property tax relief has been enacted. In fact, the “three New York City men in a room” have actually added to the burden homeowners, businesses and farmers already are facing. With no regard for the current dismal fiscal climate, these three men set records when it came to budgetary spending and earmarks. On top of that, they reduced STAR benefits and brought to the floor cumbersome legislation which passes more job-killing mandates onto businesses and agriculture, such as Assembly Bill 1867, the “Farm Death Bill.”

All of these measures have come from New York City state legislators who know little to nothing about the rural communities or agricultural industry that these bills will truly affect. In their skyline apartments, issues like property tax reform are not pressing concerns, but as a collective body they have an obligation to help make the entire state a better, more affordable and safer place to live and work. Currently, that obligation is not being met.

Clearly, the current partisan turmoil in the State Senate is a distraction for all lawmakers, lobbyists and the media. However, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to put partisanship aside and keep our promise to the people. We must enact meaningful property tax relief before the end of the month.