November 30, 2011 “A Citizens Guide”
- The cap is not absolute. School budgets can exceed the cap if approved by at least 60 percent of school district voters. Tax caps for counties, cities, towns, villages and special districts can be overridden by a vote of at least 60 percent of the local governing bodies.
- The annual cap in your community will seldom be exactly two percent. It could be lower if the rate of inflation has been below two percent, which was the case in several recent years. However, as explained in the following pages, the law also includes several exceptions and allowances that can make the cap higher. These factors will vary from year to year and will differ in each taxing jurisdiction.
- A simple majority of voters will now have the power to block any tax increase in independent school districts. Districts that fail to win voter approval for their proposed budgets after two tries must freeze their property tax levies.
State Programs Funded by Property Taxes (DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE)
This report represents NYSAC’s continuing efforts to raise awareness of the systemic inequity of the State’s public service delivery system that relies on property taxpayers to fund State programs, services and policy decisions. read more…
Government Affairs Albany Update
October 21, 2011
There is little doubt that there is a direct connection between historic mandates upon municipalities and the local property tax levy. If municipalities are to live below the newly enacted property tax cap they are going to need statutory relief from some of the historic municipal mandates.
The Business Council of the State of New York is working with a coalition of associations, regional interests, and municipal associations to identify a list of mandates that together we will advocate for statutory relief. In the coming month an official announcement will be made. The coalition has identified a number of statutory changes, including amendments to the State’s construction and civil service laws. There once was a time in New York’s not so distant past that mandates and cost shift were the norm, it is time that as a cohesive voice we oppose additional mandates while we look to redress the current costly directives.
Additionally, on other fronts the TBC is working diligently to address the identified mandates upon business of the State.
GET INVOLVED NOW!
Together we can make change
happen in New York
If you would like to make a contribution to our PAC please click the “Contribute Now” button above or contact Heather Jung at 518.465.7511
Help us build a better business climate in New York.
In the past two years, the New York State Legislature has approved over $8 billion in new taxes and fees, failed to control state spending, and increased regulatory burdens, all while the state continues to experience significant job losses. Recently, the Legislature broke away from Albany without approving a balanced State Budget or any significant pro-business legislation.
November 8, 2011
Property tax burdens in New York’s counties, based on U.S. Census data crunched by the Tax Foundation, are presented in an online map widget unveiled yesterday as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new “CitizenConnects” program.
But the Tax Foundation’s countywide data, which reflect the tax on a median-priced home, aren’t actually very useful in comparing property tax burdens in different communities. Taxes within counties can differ significantly from one town or city to the next, even within the same town. That’s mainly because school taxes dominate the tax levy, and school districts cross town lines. One town may be divided into portions of two or three — or even a half dozen or more — school districts. In addition to county, town and school taxes, property owners also may pay taxes to one or more special districts that exist to fund libraries, fire protection and other special purposes. Each is subject to Cuomo’s new cap on property tax levies.
The best tool for drilling down and comparing property tax burdens at the local level in New York is BenchmarkingNY at the Empire Center’s SeeThroughNY transparency website, which is based on state comptroller’s “equalized” property tax levy data. The drop-down toggle buttons in BenchmarkingNY’s “Property Tax by Location” feature can be used to generate comparisons of the property tax burden in thousands of different slices of communities across the state. Users have the option of scrutinizing effective rates alone, or of having the tool calculate taxes on a particular property value. The results box also can be expanded to show the breakdown of how each different tax rate contributes to the whole.
Say, for example, you want to compare taxes in the the neighboring Albany County towns of Bethlehem and Colonie. Bethlehem contains portions of three school districts, and Colonie contains all or part of six. So say, further, that you want to compare the portion of Bethlehem located in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) School District with the portion of Colonie located in the North Colonie School District. Assuming the same countywide median home-price estimated in the Tax Foundation data ($206,400), BenchmarkingNY produces this comparative result:
Our comparison tool indicates the tax on the median-priced house is a whopping $818 higher in the RCS School District in Bethlehem than it would be on a house of the same value in the North Colonie School District in the town of Colonie. Why do the Bethlehem residents pay a 19 percent tax premium, compared to nearby Colonie? The breakdown of taxes by jurisdiction provides the answer: it’s due almost entirely to the higher tax rate in the RCS school district.
Note that taxes in both communities in this comparison are considerably higher than the $3,334 countywide median suggested by the Tax Foundation data, which is based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and not on hard tax levy or collection data.
While it permits more detailed comparisons, BenchmarkingNY isn’t perfect, of course. As we point out in our data note:
The effective property tax rates presented in these databases are approximate, based on estimates by the Office of the State Comptroller. The effective rates are most accurate as a comparative overall measure of tax burdens as a share of property values in different New York communities. However, because local property assessment procedures vary widely, the estimated tax levels for sample property values produced by our “Property Tax by Location” tool will not always match actual tax bills for properties of the same value in those communities. This is particularly true of localities whose assessments are significantly out of date, or which have an unofficial practice of over-assessing commercial property. In a few dozen cities and towns that have established preferential tax rates for owner-occupied homes – including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Rochester – the local effective rate presented here is an average of “homestead” and “non-homestead” tax rates. In addition, estimated property tax bills do not reflect the impact of the state “STAR” tax break, which typically reduces the school district portion of property tax bills by 10-20 percent, or by more than 30 percent for qualified seniors.
As property taxes receive the more intensive scrutiny they deserve, we will keep working to make BenchmarkingNY even better and more useful to taxpayers across New York.
Property Tax Increases New York State 2008-2010
Written by Sonia Lindell on August 30, 2011 – 7:38 am
An editorial in The Observer-Dispatch (Utica) states:
“The 2 percent property tax cap mandated by state law has local government officials squirming as budget season draws near — and rightfully so. There are even rumblings that Oneida County lawmakers might simply dance around the cap by mustering the 60 percent vote necessary to override it.
We’d strongly encourage them not to do that, and so should you.
Yes, we’re aware that state mandates have local governments handcuffed. But property taxpayers are handcuffed, too. Local government leaders argue that unless the state lightens its burden on them, they’ll be hard-pressed to craft reasonable budgets without cutting people, programs and services and/or raiding fund balances that already are bottoming out.
Most families across the state face a similar problem. Paychecks have been frozen — or lost entirely, while bills – often higher – continue to arrive. That has forced citizens to make the real tough decisions. Government leaders must do the same.”
To read the entire editorial click here.
UPAC: Central To Our Vision
- Reducing Taxes, Fees and Assessments, which make New York’s income taxes an appalling 22% higher than the national average. Local property taxes are 55% higher, while local sales taxes are twice the national average.
July 26, 2011
As if it wasn’t bad enough that New York imposes some of the nation’s highest property taxes, the Empire State’s patchwork system of local property tax administration is rated the nation’s worst in a new scorecard compiled by a corporate-sponsored tax organization.
The Council on State Taxation (COST) assigned New York an overall grade of “F” based on an analysis of three criteria described as follows:
- A fair property tax system must have standardized filing, remittance and appeal procedures throughout the state;
- The appeal process for property tax disputes must be before an independent tribunal, in a de novo hearing, without a pay-to-play requirement for disputed property taxes; and
- The property tax burden must be balanced and uniform and not shifted onto business taxpayers.
New York State PolicyCategories Manhattan Institute
for Policy Research<!– Categories
New York City
New York State
State and Municipal Debt
The Fiscal Outlook
Wall Street–> Fiscal Watch Memos
Reform Mandates, Reduce Costs
Below are links to the ideas for mandate reform and relief submitted by county officials from across New York State. Click on the links below to see specific ideas, which are organized according to which State mandate they apply to.
- Public Assistance/Safety Net
- Child Welfare
- Preschool Special Education
- Early Intervention
- Indigent Defense
- Youth Detention
- Other Mandate Relief Ideas
231 and counting. That’s how many mandate relief ideas have been submitted to Governor Cuomo’s Mandate Relief Team through the report: “Reforming Mandates, Reducing Costs.” The report is organized according to the most costly mandates that are funded by county property taxpayers.
“Counties don’t set the property tax levy, the State does. Each and every time State lawmakers require counties to deliver a new program or shift more of the cost of an existing program, they raise property taxes,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, president of the New York State County Executives Association, a NYSAC affiliate that helped submit and compile the ideas for the report. County Executive Brooks is a member of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Team.
NYSAC has updated our primer on key provisions of the State’s Property Tax Cap to accomodate the latest information that we have from State agencies as well as new questions from county leaders.
This Act proposes a multi-year plan for the State to remove property taxpayers from the State’s Medicaid program. The plan uses savings from the 2011-12 State Budget and provisions of the Federal Affordable Care Act to relieve county property taxpayers from funding the State’s Medicaid program.
231 and counting. That’s how many mandate relief ideas that are being submitted by county officials to the Governor’s Mandate Relief Team.
A top priority among the dozens of resolutions adopted by county delegates at the NYSAC Fall Seminar is one urging New York State to cut the unfunded mandates before they impose a cap on county property taxes.
Counties Call For Property Tax Relief
In a new report to Governor Elect Cuomo, county leaders present a series of reforms that would have a direct corresponding reduction in county property taxes.
How High is Your Community’s Property Taxes?
From Governor Cuomo:
New York property taxes are out of control. The median U.S. property tax paid is $1,917 and in New York it is $3,755—96 percent higher than the national median. Moreover, New York has the highest local taxes in America as a percentage of personal income—79 percent above the national average. Below is a map that ranks where your county stands relative to the rest of the country in property taxes. Place your cursor over your county to see where it ranks.
[ for more (this site) see the Governors office contact page ]