Astorino slams tax cap during preview of 2013 Westchester County budget

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Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino had some choice words for the tax cap legislation passed last year during his preview of the 2013 county budget Thursday.

He said it was a phony cap because the state Legislature never passed the mandate relief that officials promised to go along with it. Under the cap, the county would be allowed to raise $11 million next year, he said (though he has essentially imposed a stricter cap on himself by promising to keep the tax levy flat).

“The pension bill alone exceeds the tax cap,” Astorino said. “So you can see the absurdity of the tax cap.”

“In and of itself, without the actual spending controls in Albany, it’s a farce, it really is,” Astorino added later. “It was a great headline they got. But remember, I and others said at the same time, the tax cap is great but the tax cap is one part of a solution. And in and of itself, the tax cap is fairly meaningless and actually a ruse on everybody. But with spending controls in Albany and the reduction of unfunded mandates, to sort of empower local governments to have more say over their spending and control over their own spending, then it becomes real. But until that happens it’s just a runaway train that’s going to get worse and worse.”

Astorino said he’s hoping if the Legislature is brought back for a special session this year, he will watch to see if it accomplishes real mandate relief or window dressing.

Photo: County Executive Rob Astorino.

 

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