Senate Passes Bill To Eliminate School Property Tax

John J. Bonacic

August 04, 2008

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that the Senate has again passed property tax reform legislation which would allow for the elimination of the property tax homeowners pay to operate local school districts. The State would make up the extra cost using existing tax revenue.

"For three years in a row, the Senate has approved property tax reform legislation. For three years in a row, the Assembly has refused to bring it to a vote. Three years of voting in the Senate. Three years of inaction in the Assembly. Three years of local Democratic Assembly members claiming they are for reform but refusing to take on the Assembly leadership to effect any change. Three strikes and you’re out," Senator Bonacic said.

Bonacic continued, "Based on their inaction, it doesn’t seem that the Assembly Democrats understand or even care about the plight and burden of New York’s homeowners. If they did, they would vote on one of the multiple reform bills pending in the Assembly. We could then take whatever they pass, start a conference committee and finally enact real property tax reform."

Senate bill 8522, which the Senate passed, gives school district voters the authority to eliminate residential property taxes homeowners pay to run their local schools over five years. The bill also allows localities the option to place a local tax cap in place, enact comprehensive mandate relief measures to help lower costs of school districts and provide financial incentives for school district which merge or share services. The bill reduces taxes paid by homeowners at a rate of twenty percent per year.

Recently the so-called Suozzi report proposed capping property tax increases at 4% a year. "Allowing a continuous rise of property taxes, even at 4% a year, is not a long term solution. The Senate bill reduces school property taxes, rather than simply limits their growth. Had the Assembly passed the version of this bill which passed two years ago, property taxes would be going down this year for the second year in a row. Instead, they continue to rise," Bonacic said.

"Assembly Democrats cannot claim to be tax reformers while continuing to vote for the very same Assembly leaders who refuse to even allow a vote on tax reform legislation. You cannot be an enabler of the obstructionist and not yourself be part of the problem," concluded Senator Bonacic.