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Keep the Property Tax Cap Legislative Letter

Published on January 2017 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 7 | Comments: 0
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May 6, 2015
Dear Legislator,
In 2011, New York’s lawmakers achieved one of the most significant fiscal reforms in the
history of our great state when you enacted a real property tax cap to limit the growth of
real property tax levies. Unfortunately, the expiration date that was attached to this
important measure is quickly approaching.
On behalf of Unshackle Upstate and our respective organizations, we need you to take
action to ensure that the real property tax cap continues for future generations of New
Yorkers.
By forcing local governments and school districts to better control their spending, as many
families and businesses do every day, the real property tax cap has provided tremendous
benefits to taxpayers. Since 2011, their budgets have continued to grow, but they have
done so at a much lower rate than before the cap was in place. Local governments and
school boards are adjusting – with each year that the property tax cap has been in place,
fewer are proposing to spend more than the tax cap would permit without a super-majority
vote. As reported last December by Gannett News Service, 81 percent of the state’s
municipalities are planning to live within the cap this year. Additionally, a February 2015
report by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that 97 percent of school
districts across the state will propose budgets that live within the cap.
The property tax cap has broad support among the public. A January 2015 poll found that
70 percent of New York voters support extending a property tax cap that limits increases in
school district and local budgets to about 2 percent without voter approval. (Siena College
Research Institute,
https://www.siena.edu/assets/files/news/SNY0115_Crosstabs_012015.pdf)
In short, the state’s tax cap is working. And changing what has been controlling our
otherwise out-of- control taxes would be a mistake, because New York State continues to
have some of the highest local taxes in the nation. The suburban communities around New
York City continue to pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation as measured in
real dollars, while Upstate communities still pay some of the highest property taxes rates in
the nation as a percentage of their home values.

Our high property tax burden continues. So, too, must the property tax cap – without any
modifications.
Businesses and homeowners need the tax relief that the property tax cap offers. We urge
you to make the state’s real property tax cap permanent before the end of the 2015
legislative session.
Thank you.

Robert Duffy,
President and CEO, Rochester Business Alliance

Dottie Gallagher-Cohen,
President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Brian Sampson,
President, Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors

Lou Santoni,
President and CEO, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce

Garry Douglas,
President, North Country Chamber of Commerce

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