Dems’ anti-Astorino ad sparks war of words on property taxes


The Gov. Andrew Cuomo-led state Democratic Committee is out with a new advertisement knocking Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino for the county’s high property taxes, pinning the blame on the Republican gubernatorial hopeful.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 3.31.45 PMThe 30-second ad, which began airing Thursday, knocks Astorino for Westchester paying the highest property taxes in the nation, while accusing him of breaking a campaign promise to cut property taxes by 20 percent.

“When he ran for Westchester County executive, he promised to cut property taxes 20 percent,” the narrator says. “Then, he broke his word and vetoed a property-tax cut.”

Astorino did make a campaign promise to cut Westchester’s property-tax levy by 20 percent. But that promise came during his 2005 campaign — when he lost to Democrat Andy Spano. Astorino wasn’t successful until 2009, when he defeated Spano in a rematch.

Census data and various reports have shown Westchester County does pay the most in property taxes in terms of pure dollars — not percentage of home value — with a median price tag of $10,000 annually per household.

In a statement, Astorino campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud said Westchester property-tax bills are high because of state-mandated costs. Astorino has cut the size of the Westchester budget, while the county’s property-tax levy had dropped under his watch, Proud said. (Previously, we examined Astorino’s claim that he cut the tax levy more than any other county.)

“In Westchester County today, 85 cents of every tax dollar goes to pay for Mr. Cuomo’s mandates,” Proud said. “In other places, like Rockland County, that percentage exceeds 100%. So when Governor Cuomo talks about high property taxes, he is talking about his own record, except, of course, in paying his own fair share of taxes in the Town of New Castle.”

The Astorino Truth Squad, a group aligned with both state and Westchester Democrats and dedicated to attacking Astorino’s record, pushed back against Proud’s statement, citing comments from Astorino’s 2005 campaign in which he accused Spano of unfairly blaming Albany mandates for Westchester’s own problems.

You can watch the new anti-Astorino ad below. Cuomo’s re-election campaign also released a pair of ads of its own; one touting his work with veterans, another touting the state’s cleanup efforts after Superstorm Sandy.


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  1. i ninety-five on

    Noam Bramson tried this route too but it didn’t go so well.

    And if anyone wants to point fingers on this issue, it should be at Andy Spano, George Latimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

    Andy Spano ran Westchester County for years with the help of Latimer and Stewart-Cousins.

  2. i is full of it…as usual

    When REPUBLICAN Andy O’Rourke was County Exec and he had a REPUBLICAN County Legislature, guess what:

    Westchester had the highest taxes in the nation then too.
    And they blamed it on Democrats everywhere – the State, the Towns the school Boards.

    So when Democrats took over the County, the new rhetoric became: Blame the Democrats who ran the County for higher taxes.

    Same old same old GOP Baloney, every election, every year
    They’ve run the State Senate, held the Governorship and County Exec seat BUT THEY’RE NEVER TO BLAME.

  3. i ninety-five on

    But Truth, O’Rourke retired and Spano got thrown out of office by Astorino. Big difference there don’t you think?

    The voters obviously know the real truth, not the truth you see through rose colored glasses. Please try not to distort the facts so much.

    Its no fun when you lie and say things like George Latimer’s a tax cutter. That’s just a load of BS and everyone knows it.

  4. Hilarious how you go after Latimer every chance you get. County taxes cut 3 straight yrs when he was chair.

    Why don’t you just run against him and show what you can do? He’d tear you apart in a debate. He beats you even in the South End if NewRo.

  5. The NYS Retirement Incentive Plan in 2010 allowed over 500 Westchester County Employees to retire. It could have resulted in a 20% savings for taxpayers until Astorino proceeded to use the savings to hire his own staff of campaign cronies at taxpayer expense rather than pass the savings along to the taxpayers. Then he even borrowed more to pay for those retirement costs. Moody’s saw what he did and responded with a lowered credit rating for Westchester for fiscal mismanagement.

    Lohud has requested public information for County employee start dates (which will show how many cronies Astorino hired but Astorino has not released the information. Westchester is still the highest taxing municipality in the U.S. and the only thing Rob Astorino has done is use Westchester County resources to hire his own campaign staff to run for Governor.