The tax cap and the candidates


The races for local state Assembly and Senate seats have only recently gotten started, but several candidates have already seized upon their first issue: the 4 percent property tax cap proposed by  Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi  and the tax reform commission he chaired.

Republicans Liz Feld,  Bill Gouldman and Rob Biagi are among the latest canddiates to challenge their opponents to back the legislation that would create the tax cap.

“My position is clear,” Feld writes in an “open letter” to  her opponent, Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, that was e-mailed to reporters today. “I will support Governor Patterson’s and County Executive Suozzi’s bi-partisan proposal.”

Gouldman and Biagi have issued similar challenges to Assembly members Sandra Galef and George Latimer.

Also getting in on the act is the Westchester County Association, which has announced a Thursday press conference to discuss the issue.


About Author


  1. The Republicans have 3 solid candidates in Liz Feld, Bill Gouldman and Rob Biagi. This year it will be a good fight. The Democrats on the state level have major issues if the 3 of them campaign hard they will beable to win these races. We need a few more Republicans from Westchester County. This county has become a 1 party county, but that will change soon.

  2. This was posted in the Capital Confidential Blog on June 10.
    It shows that the Senate and the Assembly is showing no indication that they plan to take up this idea this year.

    Burying the concept of a school tax cap was pretty much what these leaders of the state’s education lobby were doing just now during a press conference.
    Among the arguments against Gov. Paterson’s 4 percent tax cap idea: there’s no accompanying “floor,” or guarantee of minimum state funding for the schools; it would disproportionately hurt poor schools and could force cutbacks in all sorts of school programs and activities.

    “It’s like replacing half your roof or buying one shoe to save money,” said Maria DeWald, pictured above, from the state PTA.

    “What is the rush?” DeWald added.

    Actually, the prospect of a tax cap being passed, at least this year, is pretty much non-existent with neither the Republican Senate or Democratic Assembly showing no indication that they plan to take up the idea. But nonetheless, said NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn, the press conference was a way to get the messsage out to lawmakers about how deep the opposition to a property tax cap is in the education community. Among those joining the coalition against the tax cap are New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, the New York State PTA; Working Families Party; Fiscal Policy Institute; New York State Council of School Superintendents; New York State United Teachers; Citizens Action of NY; TREND; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Campaign for Fiscal Equity; Alliance for Quality Education; and the Civil Service Employees Association.

  3. This was posted in – Albany Watch on June 10, by Jay Gallagher.

    Tax-cap idea still dead

    Foes of a cap on property taxes apparently wanted to make sure today that, like Francisco Franco, the idea is still dead.

    Labor, school-board, parent-teachers and other groups gathered to tell reporters what they have been saying for months: that imposing a cap on how much school districts can raise taxes without specific permission from voters would mean the End of Western Civilization. (only a slight exaggeration)

    The idea, however, appears headed nowhere, despite the advocacy of Gov. David Paterson. The bill he wants introduced to implement a cap has yet to garner a sponsor in either the Senate or Assembly, and the scheduled end of the legislative session is less than two weeks away.

    So why the overkill?

    “Remember the commuter tax,’’ said Alan Lubin of New York State United Teachers, referring to a last-minute decision by lawmakers more than a decade ago to scrap a tax that people commuting to New York City had to pay after the proposal had also seemed deader than dead.

    He also pointed out that while the measure has little chance of passage this month, lawmakers could do it in a special session later this year, or even next year. So the foes keep pounding away, unwilling to accept victory.

  4. Friends:

    Until voters in New York State approve a measure similar to Proposition 13, approved by California voters thirty years ago this month, spending and taxation will remain uncontrollable by citizens. Our elected officials, of both parties, will never voluntarily control spending, especially with their own re-election in mind; taxation will increase inexorably until we New Yorkers are bankrupt.

    Disclosure: I voted for Prop 13. Its ramifications are still working their way out in my home state. But its passage sent a message to elected officials throughout the Golden State: “Stop.”

  5. I’ve said it before, and it was true then and it is true now. The unions OWN the Albany pols. Until something is done about that (like voting OUT incumbents), nothing will change. New York State is rapidly sinking into the quicksand, but Albany keeps on being Albany.

    New reps are badly needed, and so are term limits.

  6. Somers Republican on

    Albany representatives are afraid to change the laws ! People can not afford the school taxes, can not pay mortages, can not afford gas to drive to work and this winter, will NOT beable to afford fuel oil to heat their homes. Meanwhile, our Albany representatives collect a great salary for the ENTIRE YEAR even though they are only in session from January thru June and rarely after that. They are members of the NYS Retirement system, earnign credit and they get health benfits too. They are afraid…they might lose this cushy job that averages less than 80days a year. They make more than a teacher and have better perks and work less days.
    THEY SHOULD BE MANDATED TO STAY IN SESSION THE ENTIRE YEAR until they solve the school tax issue….or else be removed from office FOR FAILURE TO REPRESENT THE CONSTITUENTS.

  7. the consultant on

    The way to stop the spiraling cost of state and local
    government is to cap the amount of pension money that
    can be received relative to the salaries earned in
    the last 3 years…In addition with regard to the
    teachers union health benefits are paid forever
    no other business has that arrangement and although
    teaching is a valuable occupation, they should not
    be in a better situation than others who work for
    private industry whose health benefits stop when
    they retire…If our state representatives of both
    parties would stop catering to the unions maybe
    we could keep the cost of government under control

  8. Division Street Guy on

    Somers Republican I agree with you they should be mandated to stay in session until they solve the school tax issue. If not then they should be removed from office for failure to so what the people need and want.

    These people do not represent us. They represent there own special interests and themselves.

    Assemblywoman Sandra Galef the Chairwoman of the NYS Assembly Real Property Taxation Committee had a forum the other night to talk about this issue. She brought Tom Suozzi, the chair of the NYS Commission on Property Tax Relief to talk about the findings of his commission.

    It was incredible that she would have a forum like that so she can pander to the voters in her district when she knows that they are going on vacation for the summer and not even address the property tax issue.

    We all see thru her pandering.

  9. At the forum on June 9th in the Putnam Valley High School which was sponsored by Sandy Galef her opponent William Gouldman was passing out the following letter at the door. I am pleased that he is calling her out on this issue. This is one of the most important issues of our time and it must be addresses

    June 3, 2008

    Honorable Sandra Galef
    New York State Assembly Committee On Real Property Taxation

    Dear Mrs. Galef:

    Too much is at stake to allow the assembly to continue to do business as usual. In these times of economic pain the people expect more from their elected representatives. It is an affront and an act of extreme cynicism to deliberately delay the release of the report of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief so that the State Assembly could let yet another year go by without bringing legislation to a vote that would cap property taxes.

    Even more appalling however, was the testimony that you received on June 2nd, 2008, from the New York State Association of Counties, which shockingly disclosed that people who are delinquent in paying their property taxes received tax rebate checks from the State Legislature in 2007. Counties paid an astonishing $353 million to these tax delinquents. At a time when New York is in financial duress the legislature must immediately act to fix this outrageous situation. I am calling upon you, as the Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Real Property Taxation, to see to it that the assembly does not take its summer recess until it passes legislation that ends this irresponsible abuse. I further urge that you insist that the assembly vote on the recommendations made by the Suozzi Commission before it adjourns.

    The information that has been brought to your attention places a moral and perhaps a legal imperative for the legislature to act before another cent of taxpayer money is squandered.


    William J. Gouldman

  10. Mr. Gouldman stands for good government, which is why he a great quixotic candidate this year.

    Bill Gouldman will lose, as have half the candidates I have supported since I first voted, in 1972, for one simple reason: he is honest, and he desires an open government.

    New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley are sheep, voting in lockstep for Democrats as they did in Brooklyn, or some wretched part of The Bronx.

    We will all go to a special screening of “The Candidate,” perhaps Robert Redford’s finest screen moment, following election day.

    Then, New Yorkers here in our part of the Hudson Valley will continue to complain about taxes, and prices, as they validate their elected officials by voting for the the Row “A” Dems on their ballots in each chance in November.

    Ronald Reagan put it best: vote with your feet.

    If each of us Republicans got up and left, do you know how much fun it would be to look back in a few years and laugh at all the overtaxed Democrats suffering here? Who would they blame then? Bush would be out of office.

    Schadenfreude, the greatest revenge against bad government.

    In the time being, until you move, protest-vote for Bill Gouldman, who is a good thinker.

  11. Tim you are probably right. Mr. Gouldman will loose, but it is refreshing to see an honest person who trys something like this. Opposing an incumbent who has been in office for as long as she has. I give him alot of credit and if I lived in his district he would get my vote.

  12. THis was in the DAILY NEWS Blog today.

    Governor Paterson does not like Sandy Galef’s Circuit Breaker Property Tax Bill

  13. June 12, 2008
    Paterson Chats With Spitzer, Challenges NYSUT
    In an interview at WMHT with New York Now” host Susan Arbetter, Gov. David Paterson revealed he spoke earlier this week with his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, who, according to Paterson, praised his onetime LG for his ability to play nice with others in Albany – a skill that infamously evaded Spitzer during his short 14-month tenure in the executive mansion.

    Writes Arbetter:

    “During a phone call, Eliot Spitzer was supportive of his former Lieutenant and reminded Paterson that he chose him for some very good reasons, like he was someone who could work effectively in state government. According to Paterson, Spitzer said to him, “I told you so”.

    Paterson also got a little testy when told NYSUT’s Alan Lubin had derided his property tax cap plan as “disastrous” and prefers a so-called “circuit breaker” (also being championed by the Working Families Party). The governor responded:

    “I want to hear his plan. Did you hear it?…A circuit breaker doesn’t cut the property taxes. It helps some people who are affected by it. And actually, 43 percent of people who are getting relief from STAR now wouldn’t get it under that circuit breaker. So, let’s eliminate and disqualify that, because it doesn’t reduce property taxes.”

    “But listen closely, here’s the rest of their plan (waits a beat, hearing nothing). Wow. That’s really unfortunate.”

  14. Last time I looked, every Republican-run town, village, city and county raised taxes last year. The Republicans are out of power, pretending its 1994 again. But it’s not.

    They had 12 years under Pataki, w/a Republican Senate, to cut expenses, and they didn’t….

    And all the grief over high fuel costs, and mortgages costs, that’s the Democrats’ fault in DC when Republicans held the White House for 8 years, and Congress overlapping for 12????

    Here’s the harsh, can’t-believe-it’s true-but-it-is truth. When Republicans are in power they do not do the things they say they will do when they are campaigning. They whip up conservative, anti-tax fears among their base, then govern in an arrogant, insider way. When have they cut government dramatically? When have they made the tough choices? Which Republican? Joe Bruno? Tom DeLay? Phil Amicone? Which other ones….

    This blog is one more vent pipe for angry conservatives. I hear them on the radio all day on WABC, or on WVOX. They write angry letters to the newspapers. If this were a representative sample of Westchester or America, we’d be 90% Republican. But we’re not.

    You criticize a wonderful person like Sandy Galef — but you criticize ALL Democrats. You hate them all. You hate that they provide long, thoughtful nuanced answers to tough questions, instead of giving blunt, attractive sound bites that feed into your anger. You hated Clinton, and you hate Obama, and you’d have hated Edwards (tiral lawyer) or Biden (plagiarist) or any other Democrat who steps forward in office. You loved to see the prosecution of Clinton for bad sexual behavior, but you’re mum on the immense failings of George W. Bush.

    The country and the state need a reasonable, workable bi=-partisanship…not this Blog World of Angry Conservatism.

  15. This is funny, Paterson thinks Sandy Galef’s Circuit Breaker Plan will not reduce property taxes.

    She has put so much affort into this plan