Senator Nozzolio Announces $2.4 Billion Property Tax Relief Plan

Michael F. Nozzolio

December 22, 2005

Albany – In an effort to reduce the enormous burden of some of the highest property taxes in the country, Senator Nozzolio announced that the Senate Majority Conference today proposed the REBATE-NY plan, a comprehensive, 25 point plan to provide more than $2.4 billion in school and municipal property tax relief over the next three years, including direct rebate checks to property taxpayers, expanding the STAR program and the property tax circuit breaker, and encouraging consolidation of local government services. The Senate plan would save property taxpayers approximately $1.4 billion in the 2006-07 State fiscal year.

“This comprehensive plan will sharpen the focus on reducing property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation, and represent the largest tax burden for millions of New Yorkers,” said Senator Nozzolio. “Enacting this plan as part of the 2006-07 budget would be major victory for taxpayers throughout the state.”

A soon-to-be released report by Global Insight found that, based on the 2002 Census of Governments, local property taxes in New York State averaged $3,750 per household, exceeded only by the states of Connecticut and New Jersey. When combined with local sales, income and other taxes, the local tax burden in New York averaged $6,377 per household, the highest in the continental US and more than twice the national average of $2,952.

In addition, the Global Insight report found that in 2002, local government spending was up to $4 billion higher in New York than the average of ten states delivering similar services. These costs are due to New York’s multi-jurisdictional approach to delivering local government services as well as a higher cost of delivering these services, requiring $2.3 billion in additional local taxes and $1.7 billion in additional state support.

“Providing substantial property tax relief with the plan we are unveiling today will continue to be the Senate’s top priority in the next session. This plan would give relief to struggling homeowners in the form of direct rebates and would also control costs at the local level that impact property taxes,” Nozzolio concluded.

Highlights of the 25 point plan include:
· $1.9 billion in direct rebate checks to property taxpayers;
· Adjusting the STAR exemption to account for increased property assessments, saving property taxpayers an additional $250 million;
· Enhancing the property tax circuit breaker for homeowners to save an additional $100 million;
· Limiting school budgets to one district vote, saving taxpayers approximately $150 million;and
· Expanded municipal shared services program