***UPDATE - VIEW JUNE 17, 2007 TIMES HERALD RECORD EDITORIAL WHICH TELLS THE ASSEMBLY TO ACT ON PROPERTY TAXES.COPY AND PASTE THE BELOW LINK INTO YOUR ADDRESS BAR***:
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.6119) co-authored by State Senator John Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope) which would allow school districts to eliminate the school property tax homeowners pay and shift those costs to State aid. The Senate last year passed similar legislation (S.8360/2006). "The elimination of the school property tax is most important issue to the people I represent in the Hudson Valley. The Senate has listened and responded to the people of the Hudson Valley," Senator Bonacic said.
Under the provisions of the bill, school district would be authorized to take a public vote to determine if real property taxes on primary residences (STAR eligible properties only) would be phased out over five years and be replaced with additional State funding. This vote would be held on the third Tuesday in May (school district budget vote day).
A new state aid formula would be created to fully reimburse districts for this reduction in local tax collections. After five years, the formula would provide districts with an annual school aid cost-of-living increase.
The Senate passed a similar bill (S.8360) last year. The Assembly passed no school property tax reform legislation last year and has thus far failed to pass any school property tax reform this year. Instead, the Assembly has taken up its time passing legislation which would:
* Declare I LOVE NY the official State Motto;
* Define the term electric assisted bicycle;
* Direct the DEC to update its brochures.
"If Assembly Democrats had their way, we’d all be riding electric bicycles reading updated DEC brochures,singing the ‘I LOVE NY’ tune, but we still wouldn’t have property tax reform. The Assembly Democrats can spin, talk about other issues, but they cannot hide behind the fact that they have not passed property tax reform. By their inaction, Assembly Democrats demonstrate their unwillingness to take on the most important issue in the Hudson Valley," Senator Bonacic said.
In 2006, primary residential homeowners paid approximately $9.5 billion in school property taxes. If every school district entered the optional system, the 20 percent reduction in residential tax levies would reduce school property taxes by $1.9 billion annually. Eventually, if every school district were under this new system, State funding would fully replace the $9.5 billion paid by homeowners in school taxes. This amount is equal to the $9.5 billion in proposed school aid increases and property tax relief proposed by Governor Spitzer in his Executive Budget this year.
"Seniors cannot afford to stay in their home, young people are less able to buy a home, and working families are being squeezed out of their home because of the school property tax. The Assembly should either pass our bill, and give it to Governor Spitzer, or pass their own bill, and we can have conference a conference committee on property tax reform. What they cannot do is do what they have done forever on property tax reform: nothing," concluded Senator Bonacic.