The Senate passed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill today that would restrict the growth of local property-tax levies to 2 percent a year or 120 percent of the consumer price index, whichever is less. If approved by the Assembly, New York would be the 44th state to cap local property taxes. Senators also approved a resolution that would require the state to fund any state mandated program imposed on municipalities or school districts that created any new costs.
Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, who voted yes on the legislation, said he is encouraged that Cuomo is partnering with senators in their efforts to provide tax relief. The senator sponsored the mandate-relief legislation.
“One would have to be deaf not to hear the taxpayers’ cry for relief,” Saland said in a statement. “Over the last few decades, local property taxes far outpaced the rate of inflation and it’s critical to many homeowners and businesses that we stem the flow of rising taxes.”
New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the country, according to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for submitting this bill and making the cap a priority. The Senate is ready to put it in law, now we need the Assembly to join us in passing this measure so we can stop the dramatic growth in property taxes and provide the relief that taxpayers desperately need,” Skelos said.
Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, said that “skyrocketing” property taxes are hurting New York families and retirees. “Passing a property tax cap is about beginning the process of getting government to live within its means because we can’t start to lower taxes until we’ve stopped them from growing.”
It’s unclear whether there’s enough support in the Democrat-led Assembly for passage of the legislation.
Another provision of the property-tax cap legislation is that a school district would be allowed to carry over any unused tax-levy capacity from the prior year, but the maximum tax-levy increase would be 1.5 percent. The school district would submit a tax-levy proposition to voters the third Tuesday in May each year. If the proposal were within the 2 percent limit, a majority vote would be required for passage. If it were more than that, 60 percent or more voters would have to approve the measure.
If voters don’t approve the tax-levy proposition, the district would have to submit a second proposition. If voters defeated that, the school district would have to adopt a tax levy that is no greater than the previous year. The legislation would take effect in the 2012-13 school year.