Defeat the Property Tax Cap
Filed Under: Politics, US | Posted: 01/12/2011 at 5:47PM
Comments | Region: New York | United States
Rarely has a piece of proposal legislation produced so many heartfelt Resolutions. Andrew Cuomo’s Property Tax Cap is spawning resolutions faster than mushrooms grow in manure. Typically, local governments don’t bother to send resolutions to Albany, because they are futile gestures. The elected officials in Albany are a spineless lot more interested in their salaries and perks than responsible government. To get elected to the State Legislature, you need to be a party insider and be willing to shine Sydney Sheldon’s shoes. Newly elected Tom Abinanti of the 92nd District informed school superintendents before he was even sworn in that he would not “touch pensions or steps or the Triborough amendment or tenure rules”.
This time the proposed legislation being push in Albany is so onerous and unfair and has local officials so mad that they are fighting back. Traditionally, local officials would throw up their hands and blamed tax increases on Albany.
What Cuomo is trying to do is offload the budget crisis on local government and force local politicians to make the deep cuts and face the voters’ rage. Basically, Cuomo wants to cap local property taxes while massively cutting State subsidies to education and health care. The net effect will be massive layoffs and reduced services at the local level, while the Albany bureaucracy and the special interest groups will be protected.
Albany is filled with political cowards. They pass an MTA payroll tax and put the burden of bailing out the MTA on small businesses. Then they wonder why no one is creating jobs in New York. They put a tax on empty water bottles hoping that citizens are too rational to waste their time at deposit refund machines getting their money back at less than minimum wage. When people return more water bottles than anticipated, they are perplexed; Honorable Assemblypersons, people are under-employed and five cents a bottle is real money. At the Stop & Shop in Tarrytown, I am amazed at the number of people waiting in line to use the bottle refund machines. Since the machines are often broken from overuse, tempers often flare. Bottle refund rage will be the next crime wave. The only tax that the Legislature could agree upon last year was to tax ‘back-to-school’ clothes.
For the public record and because these resolutions are not being published by the mainstream media, here are two recent resolutions from local governments.
Be it Resolved by the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association that Mandate Relief Must be Included in any NY State Property Tax Cap Proposal.
WHEREAS, New York State leads the nation in local property taxes, in large part because New York leads the nation in imposing unfunded state mandates upon our local municipalities and school districts; and
WHEREAS, state mandated pension fund contributions are one of the largest components of every school district and municipal budget over which local officials have little control, and are increasing at exorbitant rates annually such that bills from the State Retirement System (ERS) will increase 40% and bills from the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) will increase 33% in the 2011-12 school year; and
WHEREAS, state laws such as the Triborough Amendment, pertaining to the collective bargaining of contracts between school districts and employee unions, impede the ability of local officials to reasonably control the costs that such contracts impose upon local property taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, as a solution to New York’s property tax crisis, the Governor of New York and members of the New York State Legislature have pledged to consider enactment of legislation imposing a cap on the annual growth in local property taxes; and
WHEREAS, any property tax cap must be accompanied simultaneously (1) by ending the practice of pushing State costs onto local school districts and municipalities, and (2) by a repeal of current underfunded or unfunded state mandates that require local municipalities and school districts to significantly increase spending and therefore local property taxes; and
WHEREAS, a property tax cap without repeal of costly underfunded and unfunded state mandates will inescapably lead to drastic cuts in essential local school district programs and services, as well as significant layoffs of school district employees;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, which represents 54 school districts serving over 165,000 students and their families, that the Governor of the State of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York – including mandate relief, pension benefits and the collective bargaining process – as the central element of any effort to provide property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York State.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Assembly Speaker and Minority Leader, and the members of the State Senate and Assembly representing Westchester and Putnam Counties.
|President – David Lacher Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association (WPSBA) Executive Director – Lisa P. Davis|
|2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523 • tel. (914) 345-8737 • fax (914) 345-8761 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org • website: www.wpsba.org|
Village of Elmsford
Board of Trustees
December 14, 2010
RESOLUTION: Any Property Tax Cap Must Include Mandate Relief
WHEREAS the level of property taxation throughout New York has reached dangerously high levels; and
WHEREAS New York leads the nation in property taxes simply because we led the nation in imposing inefficient state mandates on our local governments; and
WHEREAS two of the largest components of every municipal budget over which local officials have little control — pension payments and health insurance costs — are increasing at exorbitant rates; and
WHEREAS in the case of pension costs, bills from the State Retirement System will increase by an average of 40% in both 2011 and 2012; and
WHEREAS state laws pertaining to the collective bargaining of contracts between municipalities and employee unions, particularly those pertaining to police officers, do not allow local officials to reasonably control the costs such contracts impose on property taxpayers; and
WHEREAS as a solution to New York’s property tax crisis, the Governor of New York and the New York State Legislature will, in 2011, consider enactment of legislation imposing a cap on the annual growth in property taxes; and
WHEREAS a property tax cap will only work if it is simultaneously accompanied by a repeal of current state mandates that require local governments to increase spending and property taxes; and
WHEREAS a property tax cap without repeal of costly state mandates will, by definition, led to drastic cuts in essential local services and dramatic layoffs of municipal employees;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Elmsford that the Governor of the State of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York – including pension benefits, health insurance costs and the collective bargaining process – as the central element of any effort to provide overdue property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York.
Moved by; Trustee Eannazzo
Seconded by: Trustee Zimkin
Adopted on roll call vote: 3 Yes, 0 No, 2 Absent