With the Governor and Legislature each advancing different proposals for property tax relief, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is pleased that a plan to help beleaguered homeowners and businesses will be part of the final 2014-15 State Budget. As part of this well-intentioned effort, and to assist the state in their effort to assist property taxpayers, NYSAC is advancing a series of GUIDING PRINCIPLES for property tax relief.
“It’s true that we need to do all we can to end the exodus of businesses, families and retirees. New York State is not a stop on the way to retirement. It is worth fighting for, and that’s why we are introducing these guiding principles that demonstrate that our state leaders are committed to working together to make our communities a better and stronger place to live and start a business,” said NYSAC President Mark R. Alger, the Steuben County manager.
According to NYSAC, any property tax reform/relief/rebate proposal should:
Incentivize local governments that keep their property tax levy under the tax cap;
Foster innovative shared services among local governments and school districts;
Credit municipalities that have already been sharing services and consolidating functions to save tax dollars;
Provide the necessary tools for local governments to reduce costs at the local level;
Be easy to understand and transparent to the taxpayer, not overly complex and arbitrary;
Be equally applied to all homeowners and businesses who pay property taxes;
Include a continued commitment by the state not to shift new costs to counties; and
Be broad, comprehensive and permanent.
“We believe that if state budget negotiators can agree on these guiding principles, we will get property tax relief that will benefit all New Yorkers,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.
Property Tax Facts
Since 2005, when a three percent cap on local Medicaid costs was established, counties have largely kept their property taxes below the cost of inflation. In the last five years alone, since 2010, the average annual county levy increase is under 1.4 percent.
At the same time that counties have held the line of property taxes; the state budget shifted more than $400 million in new costs to county governments to balance the state budget during the recession. To offset these cost increases, counties have sold assets, cut local services, consolidated departments, and reduced their workforce by more than 10 percent across the state.
“We have been making the hard decisions, cutting everywhere we can, and doing more with less,” said Alger. “Any new edict in the state budget should consider these actions.”
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for Member Counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.