State Senator John Bonacic (R/C/I – Mt. Hope), today said the State Senate has passed legislation (S.2706) which would enact Governor Andrew Cuomo’s school property tax cap legislation for schools and local governments. In addition, the Senate passed legislation (S.2707) to ban new unfunded mandates.
“Governor Cuomo heard statewide what we in the Hudson Valley and Catskills have known for years – property taxes are chasing people from our State. The special interests may oppose a property tax cap, but overwhelmingly, when asked, taxpayers support it.”
The tax cap legislation would limit tax levy growth to the lesser of 2% or 120% of the annual increase in the consumer price index. “A tax cap is a control valve. It is a solid reason school boards and local governments can use to say ‘no’ to the spending sought by special interests, but which those officials know their constituents can no longer afford. It forces government to do what families are already doing – prioritize and reduce,” Senator Bonacic said.
The legislation to ban unfunded mandates is also important in ensuring a better, long term relationship between New York State and its local governments. “As a former County Legislature Chairman, I am cognizant of the costs of unfunded mandates. The reality is we need to ban them outright. This legislation stops new unfunded mandates. It should be passed by the Assembly – now, and we ought to then go back and eliminate some of the existing mandates.”
Senator Bonacic also invited local officials and school board members to send him specific mandates they would like repealed.
Bonacic noted that the Senate has already approved legislation to create a real property tax circuit breaker – legislation he co-sponsored. “The Assembly did not pass the Senate’s Circuit Breaker legislation. A Circuit Breaker is nice, and I hope the Senate votes on another circuit breaker plan again. However, this is the bill Governor Cuomo has asked us to consider. Governor Cuomo has a mandate for change – a mandate backed broadly by people across the State. The Senate Republican Majority has reached across the aisle to the Governor, and has acted – now the Assembly has no reason to continue to hold up the will of the people,” Bonacic said.