Monday, December 1, 2008

Governor Paterson Needs to get Silver on Board for Needed Property Tax Cap Relief

The State Commission on Property Tax Relief has delivered its final report to Governor Paterson and the State Legislature. They have done an outstanding job and have made their recommendations carefully and thoughtfully. As my Assembly Republicans Conference and I carefully review the Commission’s final report, at first glance I support many of its suggestions, most importantly the need for a real property tax cap. The Commission’s recognition of the significant role that unfunded mandate relief must play in reducing property taxes is also important and should similarly command the Legislature’s attention.

If the Governor is seriously about making the property tax cap a reality for New Yorkers, he needs to include the Commission’s recommendations in the 2009-10 Executive Budget. If he gives us a budget that includes these key changes to New York’s property tax system, he will be sending a clear message of his intentions and his support for a property tax cap.

Over the years, my Republican Conference and I have warned of New York’s growing property tax crisis and the immediate need for a real property tax cap. We have been pushing for the passage of the “New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act,” legislation that would cap property taxes. The fact that New Yorkers are paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation is unacceptable.

For this to change, Albany must change. This is not a partisan issue; Speaker Silver needs to recognize that New Yorkers need property tax relief now. He’s the only leader in Albany who has opposed the cap; he needs to let the property tax cap issue come to the Assembly floor for a vote. The Senate passed a property tax cap back in August, and the Assembly has failed to do so, this clearly illustrates Albany’s need for change.

It is sad, but not surprising, that the Speaker turned a deaf ear to the pleas for help from New York homeowners being crushed by property taxes. New York is deep in an economic crisis and the Commission’s final report should be the catalyst to push the Speaker to act. Governor Paterson should use his power and appeal to the media and the public to encourage the Speaker to end his opposition to the property tax cap. The Speaker can use our tax cap bill – Assembly Bill A.8775-A – as a starting point.

I again want to commend the Commission on its hard work, bringing their recommendations for property tax relief to Albany. Chairman Tom Suozzi and the Commission have done a great job advancing the cause of property tax relief by proposing the adoption of a property tax cap to solve New York’s tax crisis.

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