Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to meet later today with county leaders at the governor’s mansion as he presses the state Legislature to approve his plan that would push local governments to share services.
County executives are in town this week for their annual meeting. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy was addressing the group this afternoon.
Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported over the weekend that some local governments and schools are skeptical of Cuomo’s property-tax freeze. It would be available to those who keep within the property-tax cap and in year two for those who develop a plan to cut the tax levy.
“I think there are many municipalities that have done the right thing already and might not be able to take advantage of that freeze,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “So I would ask that proposal be re-looked at.”
In his budget plan, Cuomo proposed that the state would pay about $1 billion in each of the next two years to provide rebates to homeowners.
The rebate would be the difference between keeping property taxes flat and the increase under the state’s property-tax cap, which this year is less than 2 percent.
Cuomo’s budget office estimated that when fully implemented in the second year, which would be 2015, the average rebate would be $200 upstate and $580 in the New York City suburbs. Westchester County pays the highest property taxes in the nation, and the rebate check there would average at least $800.
Overall, 2.8 million households would get a check. It would be for households with incomes less than $500,000.
In the first year, taxpayers would get a check starting this fall on their school taxes — estimated on average of $130 — if their district stays under the property-tax cap. The cap for schools in the fiscal year that starts July 1 is a 1.46 percent tax-levy increase.
In 2015, homeowners would get a rebate check if their local governments stay under the cap, which is adjusted each year for the rate of inflation. For municipalities this year, which mainly run on a calendar fiscal year, the cap was 1.66 percent.
But in year two, in order for residents to get the tax rebates, local governments and schools would need to stay under the cap and develop a plan to consolidate and streamline services.
The plan would have to be approved by the Department of State and cut the tax levy by 1 percent in 2017, 2 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in 2019.