BY GIANNA VOLPE
Governor Andrew Cuomo made a stop at SUNY Rockland Wednesday afternoon to discuss property tax reform as part of a recent tour to tout his record as a governor whose punctually proposed executive budgets reflect the “lowest spending rate in 50 years.”
Property taxes represent a $50 billion piece of 2014’s $137 billion proposed budget, something Cuomo said he intends to change through a five-year plan that initially gives tax credits incentive to NY homeowners whose local governments are performing under the two percent tax cap and sharing services.
Only two of New York’s more than 10,000 local governments have consolidated in the six years since Cuomo proposed a law as attorney general allowing them to do so, but Cuomo said he believes “linking incentive of a homeowner tax to local government performance” will ultimately yield results.
The plan would ultimately give tax credits to those homeowners whose local government has cut spending by three percent.
“[Local governments] think I am trying to put pressure on them [with this plan] – That’s exactly what I’m doing,” Cuomo said Wednesday, adding he hopes residents will begin to think more with their wallets than the names on their ambulances, schools or drainage districts.
“Does it really matter what name is on your pipes,” he said. “When you go to a cocktail party do you say, ‘Hi, I’m in the Rockland drainage district?’”
Rockland County currently pays the fourth highest property taxes in the nation.
“We’re looking forward to working cooperatively with the government,” County Executive Ed Day, who was on hand at Wednesday’s event, said on the matter. “We can and will do what is necessary.”