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New York News

NY Tax Cap Reaction

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-975332.mp3

Albany, NY – Although New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made national headlines with the passage of Marriage Equality, there's another milestone along his political highway: a property-tax cap. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has gathered local reaction.

Both the Senate and Assembly passed the cap last Friday before leaving Albany. New York's cap on local property taxes is being hailed as one of the most stringent in the nation. The cap favors leaner budgets and possible service reductions for both public schools and municipalities. It will limit annual property tax increases for municipalities and school districts to just 2 percent or the rate of inflation. For schools, 60 percent of the public vote is needed to exceed the 2 percent cap. For municipalities, 60 percent of the governing body needs to approve going over the limit. New York State United Teachers spokesman Carl Korn says the union fears all of this could devastate school districts.

Some politicians argue that if the tax cap isn't coupled with relief from the State, it won't work, and could end up creating budgetary problems for counties. Others, like Long time tax-cap proponent Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, applaud its passage. New York State League of Women Voters Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti disagrees. Bartoletti fears local communities will suffer. She says Governor Cuomo should have had an open debate on mandate reform. She suggests a more effective tax solution might have been so-called "circuit breaker" legislation, which is tied to income, and not to the value of a home.