Wednesday, June 4, 2008

PROPERTY TAX RELIEF



“By recommending the adoption of a real property tax cap, the State Commission on Property Tax Relief has confirmed what countless overburdened homeowners, small businesses and family farmers have known for years: property taxes in New York have reached a crisis level. Our state’s dubious distinction of having some of the highest property taxes in the nation is proof positive that these crushing burdens represent the single biggest threat to the quality of life for New York homeowners.

Our Assembly Republican Conference realized this years ago – and has been calling for a real property tax cap ever since. Some of the Commission’s recommendations mirror our ‘New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act’ – Assembly Bill A.8775-A. Our initiative should serve as an effective starting point for any serious and substantive discussions on how our state can make achieving a real property tax cap a reality. Failure to enact a property tax cap before our Legislative session concludes on June 23 would send a terrible message to overtaxed homeowners being crushed in a painful ‘middle class squeeze’ of high property taxes, Thruway tolls, food and fuel costs.

I commend Governor Paterson and Commission Chairman Suozzi for their political courage in supporting a property tax cap. Our entire Conference will work with them in a bi-partisan, cooperative manner to achieve adoption of a much-needed, and long overdue, real property tax cap.”

7 comments:

JImM said...

Jim, this Cap is nothing more than a window dressing for what we as NY taxpayers are, fools. We are currently running 80% above the National average for property tax, a 4% tax "cap" which is historically above inflation is not reform. This is just lip service, and more of the same form a group of tax junkies looking to tell grandma that they are going through her purse because they admired it. It also rewards tax cheats, I and many of us expect more from you, wake up.

Jim Tedisco said...

JimM, we need to first of all cap property taxes at 4 percent or the rate of inflation whichever is lower. The average tax increase across New York State is 8 percent. We're dealing with a legislature who never saw a tax it didn't love. We have to get them to walk before we get them to run to the place we need them to be to hold the line fully on property taxes. We've carried a property tax cap bill in the Assembly Minority for nearly two years. Our bill not only calls for a cap but also to relieve the pressure of unfunded mandates. We do care very much about education in the Empire State. But we think a cap is necessary and a good start for property taxpayers.

LVTfan said...

The best thing New York could do right now would be to get its assessments right and current, valuing land first, and then to place more of its burden on land value.

The land can take it. Not one acre, not one building lot, is going to skip over a city limit or state line!

And landholders will be motivated to put their land to better use. Vacant lots will tend to be developed faster. Well-developed lands will no be penalized for being well-developed, as they are now.

Check out the articles by (Albany resident) Bill Batt at http://www.wealthandwant.com/, prepared for the Suozzi Commission's consideration.

Property tax caps are a miserable idea. NY can learn from California's dismal experience with them, and not repeat their stupidity. If we hold it to be a self-evident truth that we all are created equal, why on earth should some people be permitted to pay a tiny fraction of what their neighbors pay to provide the very services which make their land valuable?

Capping property taxes ties the hands of local government, and if we tie their hands, who will serve? Not our best and brightest, but those who have the most to gain from property tax caps: the landlords. And that is not good for any community. We need smart people, people who care about their neighbors, and not just in their role as tenants.

Land value taxation is the most just form of taxation ever devised.

Union's economics department didn't teach the ideas of Henry George. Union's economics professors probably don't even recognize the name. But the reforms Henry George proposed are just as wise now as they were in 1879, when Progress and Poverty was published. (Check out the NYT archives for references. You'll find thousands.) See http://www.progressandpoverty.org/ for a modern abridgement of P&P (done by a Troy native, Bob Drake).

Don't use caps. Don't use circuit breakers. Reform the PT, and make it more just by reducing or eliminating the tax on buildings. Provide the option to defer a portion of one's PT bill, with interest, as a lien against the property, for those who are living on valuable sites whose value they can't afford.

LVTfan -- Union '73. Google my name to learn more.

proposition13forny said...

Hi Jim,
As one of your long time supporters I have to say that I am less fed up about the price of gasoline at the pump than I am the incessant ratchet that is property tax.

You once surveyed us as to how or whether to get this tax off the backs of property owners. At present the debate is over a tax cap. Listening to the proposals there is a lot of discussion about a 4% cap. I have to ask those proposing this on what planet is a 4% cap a good thing? It permits school districts to tax in excess of inflation into perpetuity.

As a long time property owner I am facing leaving the state of New York on retirement expressly because of this excess taxation. A few years ago the property tax passed a threshold where I am now paying more in property tax annually than my mortgage and car payments combined. Does this seem right to you? It seems offensive to me. What indespensible services am I getting that I should have to effectively repurchase my property every 15 years from the government? It's flatly absurd. I have to pay for my own trash removal and water.

We love New York. I am 53 this year and we have lived in NY as home owners for 25 years. We have raised our children here. But we will not remain after retirement to be taxed into oblivion.
The property tax ought to be cut in half not capped at 40% increases every 10 years. For Pete's sake, the taxed have to deal with inflation and its effects, why should schools and municipalities be permitted to ignore economic realities and levy at a rate that outstrips inflation? When is the last time most of your constituents got a 4% annual raise? Everyone ought to share equally in the school tax burden and not have the brunt fall upon homeowners. Everyone with a job benefitted from schools and everyone with a job should be equally sharing the school tax burden (which tax ought to be lowered, not permitted to increase at levels exceeding inflation).

How fair is it that some homes having 4-5 adults living there and all employed pay the same property/school tax that I do as a sole wage earner? It's ridiculous.

lvtfan said...

Those who wish to cap the property tax should tell us which services they are willing to do without. Ambulances? Fire fighters? Schools that educate our children? Libraries that are open and have current material? Paved streets? Plowing? Bridge inspections? Public health?

Pick the one you think is least important, and convince your neighbors that their property values would not suffer if your town eliminated the service. Convince them that the private sector can provide those services to everyone less expensively.

But don't try to shift the funding of services onto taxes like sales taxes or wage taxes which burden the economy and burden the poor. That's just not right.

We live in communities because communities are made of people who come together to invest together in various services that can be provided more efficiently and/or more effectively that way. If you no longer value the services of the community, then find yourself a place that only provides the services you value.

If, because your children have already been educated and you are not invested emotionally and intellectually in the education of the next generation in your town, find yourself a place without children or with very few children, such as a Sun City. (Hope that their employees aren't perverse enough to want to have children that need to be educated!) But don't try to tell your neighbors that educating your town's children is no longer a priority since you don't have children in the school system.

If you want to educate fewer children, convince your neighbors to have fewer children, if you consider that your business. But don't be offended if they don't take kindly to your point of view.

Is a requirement to educate the children an unfunded mandate, or a moral mandate?

Anonymous said...

yeah well lvtfan,

The fact is that school taxes are the largest problem here. As I said before making this the problem of property owners is absurd.

Every person with a job benefitted from public schools and every person with a job should pay an equal share towards public schools. This should not be foisted on the backs of property owners.

It is flatly ridiculous to pay the sorts of property taxes we pay here. Where for the first 18 years of home ownership the tax burden was reasonable and manageable, it has ballooned out of control to the point that my property tax exceeds my mortgage and car payment combined.

In what universe is this acceptable?

The truth is we receive worse and fewer services for exploding costs and don't even begin to tell me that this is about "the children," as NYSUT's disingenuous campaign insists. These folks will never stop until every teacher is making six figures.

School student populations both increase and decline over time and yet the cost of schools is a ratchet going only up and at a rate far outstripping inflation. The single biggest driver of that increase is teacher salaries.

Enough is enough. If teachers need all this money then fine. Pay it. But don't force property owners to shoulder this burden, force wage earners to do it.

I would bet that if this were done the overall tax burden to property owners would decrease significantly, the freeloaders would be forced to pay up their share and it would put significant brakes on the sorts of wild increases we have seen in spending because the elected officials would have to face the taxpayers who by all account have had enough of this nonsense.

proposition13forny said...

yeah well lvtfan,

The fact is that school taxes are the largest problem here. As I said before making this the problem of property owners is absurd.

Every person with a job benefitted from public schools and every person with a job should pay an equal share towards public schools. This should not be foisted on the backs of property owners.

It is flatly ridiculous to pay the sorts of property taxes we pay here. Where for the first 18 years of home ownership the tax burden was reasonable and manageable, it has ballooned out of control to the point that my property tax exceeds my mortgage and car payment combined.

In what universe is this acceptable?

The truth is we receive worse and fewer services for exploding costs and don't even begin to tell me that this is about "the children," as NYSUT's disingenuous campaign insists. These folks will never stop until every teacher is making six figures.

School student populations both increase and decline over time and yet the cost of schools is a ratchet going only up and at a rate far outstripping inflation. The single biggest driver of that increase is teacher salaries.

Enough is enough. If teachers need all this money then fine. Pay it. But don't force property owners to shoulder this burden, force wage earners to do it.

I would bet that if this were done the overall tax burden to property owners would decrease significantly, the freeloaders would be forced to pay up their share and it would put significant brakes on the sorts of wild increases we have seen in spending because the elected officials would have to face the taxpayers who by all account have had enough of this nonsense.