Albany, N.Y., January 9—The State Senate has approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) to make permanent the current two-percent cap on local property tax increases (S1207) and to establish a permanent two-percent cap on annual increases in state government spending (S365).
“Make no mistake, the property tax cap has been successful and provided local property taxpayers with billions of dollars in savings over the past several years. It should be made permanent,” said O’Mara, noting estimates showing that the cap has provided savings of more than $23 billion since 2012. Add to this the fact that the state’s self-imposed, two-percent spending cap since 2011 has produced an additional $41 billion in taxpayer savings.
At the same time, O’Mara again urged the state to take additional steps to begin living up to the promise Governor Andrew Cuomo originally made in 2011, when the property tax cap was enacted, that it would go hand in hand with providing municipalities and school districts with broad-based, meaningful relief from unfunded state mandates. O’Mara and his colleagues in Albany earlier today pledged to work to roll back existing unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts, and proposed amending the State Constitution to ban any future unfunded mandates.
The tax cap limits the annual growth of property taxes levied by local governments and school districts to two percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. By remaining within the cap, taxpayers statewide – outside of New York City – have saved upwards of $15 billion over the last five years and will save nearly $70 billion cumulatively over the first decade of its implementation.
O’Mara said, “Between these caps on property tax growth and state government spending, we’re making progress to provide significant taxpayer relief. Still, I’ve been outspoken about the fact that Governor Cuomo has not lived up to his original promise to lift the existing burden of unfunded state mandates on local governments, local school districts, and local property taxpayers. Mandate relief must happen in order for the tax cap to have any chance to achieve its ultimate goal, which is to ensure a future of property tax cuts, not just a slower rate of property tax growth.”
O’Mara stressed that while there have been some important mandate relief actions since 2011, including long-term pension reform and the takeover of the growth in local Medicaid costs, it hasn’t been enough to ensure a future of long-term property tax reductions for taxpayers.
For more information on the Senate's Affordability Agenda, click HERE.