The tax cap enacted by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by the Governor limits the annual growth of property tax levies at 2 percent or the rates of inflation, whichever is less. This applies to county, town and village governments as well as special districts that has authority to levy a tax and school districts.
The cap first applies to budgets beginning in 2012. Local budgets that commenced in 2011 but conclude in 2012 are not affected.
The tax cap allows for a limited number of exclusions to the tax levy limits. The exclusions are for tort actions and pension rate growth about 2 percent.
When the last legislative session began, Governor Cuomo and the Senate decided to enact an important measure to reign in out-of-control property tax increases. With bi-partisan support in the Senate and the Assembly, a 2 percent property tax cap was passed to slow the growth of taxes being imposed on families and businesses throughout the state and especially here on Long Island.
Governor Cuomo recently explained the need for a tax cap:
The New York State Mandate Relief Council, which was created as part of the tax cap legislation that went into law this year, met for the first time on Wednesday, January 25. Senator Jack M. Martins, the lone member from Long Island to sit on the 11-member council, said he is looking forward to working with his fellow council members to bring relief to local governments and school districts.
The council will be charged with reviewing mandates that are passed on to local governments and school districts. The elimination or modification of some of the regulations will result in costs savings for local governments and school district, which can then pass on the savings to taxpayers.
I think people in neighboring states could hear New Yorkers breathe a collective sigh of relief this past week as we finally began to see the effects of our new tax cap. More than anything else, property taxes have been the overriding issue in New York for many years, especially since they’ve grown on average more than 6 percent a year for ten years, double the rate of inflation. So, after leading the nation in runaway increases for so long, we finally hit the brakes in 2011 with a tax cap that had bi-partisan support in both houses of the legislature. With limited exceptions, it holds increases in school and local property taxes to two percent a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
I am sure you can imagine the phone calls and emails my office took this week as homeowners received their school tax statements. As a pretty seasoned public servant, I can tell you that as sure as the moon raises the tides, taxes raise blood pressures.
This time was no different, except people were asking me, “What happened to the tax cap?” In these cases, they knew their school district had voted to keep the budget at the cap, so they were understandably shocked when they received tax increases of much larger rates.
Senator Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola), County Executive Ed Mangano, and Legislator Rich Nicolello recently sponsored a property tax exemptions workshop to help local residents save on their property taxes. The program was held at the Hillside Library in New Hyde Park.
Specialists from the Nassau County Department of Assessment met one-on-one with homeowners to answer questions about New York State’s STAR and Enhanced STAR programs, as well as other property tax exemptions offered by Nassau County. Residents were also able to file applications for property tax exemptions on site.
Senator Jack M. Martins (R-7th Senate District) is reminding residents that they have the right to file an appeal if they believe their property has been over-assessed by the Nassau County Department of Assessment.