Statement on Governor’s Veto of Jaffee School Tax Collection Bill

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ASSEMBLYWOMAN ELLEN JAFFEE PRESS RELEASE – “I am extremely disappointed that the Governor vetoed a bill that is consistent with his stated goal of making local government function more efficiently. My bill would result in more efficient and transparent tax collection and provide a direct savings to taxpayers. The bill would not lead to any duplication of services; in fact there is already a Receiver of Taxes in place to collect the Ramapo town tax each January. The Governor also took issue with the February 1st collection date, which could certainly be changed. Our taxpayers have a right to know where their tax dollars are going. That’s why I will re-introduce this legislation in 2017,” Jaffee said.

Jaffee’s bill (A.6823/S.4737), which passed unanimously in the Assembly and had only one negative vote in the Senate, was carried by Senator David Carlucci (D- Rockland/Westchester). The bill states that it will be the duty of the town receiver of taxes to collect school taxes on behalf of the school district unless “the school board advises the town’s receiver of taxes in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, by no later than February first of each year that the district collects its own taxes.”

“This legislation would allow the school district to determine what method of tax collection is most effective and efficient for the parties involved, most especially our property taxpayers,” Jaffee said

Under current law, there are multiple methods for collecting school property taxes. However, two of the methods most commonly used are either the town collecting taxes on behalf of the school district or the school district collecting taxes on its own. Section 37 of the current Town Law states that it will be the duty of the town receiver of taxes to collect school taxes unless “there has been an agreement between the town board and the school board to the contrary.” In other words, a school district may not collect its own taxes unless the town has formally agreed that the school district may do so.

Additionally, Section 37 of the Town Law also states that if a town is collecting taxes for the school district, the town, by resolution, may authorize the receiver of taxes to charge the taxpayer a collection fee of up to one percent of the taxes to be collected during the first thirty dates from the date on the school tax bill. The town, again by resolution, may also authorize the receiver of taxes to charge the taxpayer a fee of up to five percent of the taxes to be collected after the first thirty days have elapsed. Consequently, property taxpayers are often charged an additional fee if the town decides it will collect property taxes for the school district.

Jaffee’s legislation was supported by the New York State School Boards Association, the New York State United Teachers, New York State PTA and the New York State Association of School Business Officials.

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