Senate Democrats Fight To Lower New York Property Taxes

Neil D. Breslin

June 18, 2018

Conference Plans would Provide Significant Savings to Millions of New York Property Tax Payers


I applaud the Senate Democratic Conference for advancing these proposals that will significantly reduce the property tax burden on hardworking New Yorkers throughout our State.

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference rolled out major property tax relief plans today that would help millions of New Yorkers trying to cope with high taxes. Since the disastrous Trump/Republican tax plan will cause millions of New Yorkers taxes to shoot up going forward, the Senate Democratic proposals are essential. Senate Democrats noted that these plans will be discussed with New Yorkers throughout the state over the coming weeks and months leading up to Election Day in November.

“New Yorkers already pay among the highest property taxes in the nation,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Now, under the Trump/Republican tax plan, our SALT deductions will plummet and millions of New York property tax payers will face even more crushing burdens. Despite these facts, the Senate Republicans have done nothing, and instead have been willing accomplices to Donald Trump in these anti-New York efforts. That is why Senate Democrats are stepping up and showing New Yorkers we are ready to lead and to help actually lower property taxes.”

Since the Trump/Republican tax plan will cap State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000 annually, many New Yorkers, especially in suburban communities like Long Island and Westchester, will face enormous burdens since their taxes are considerably higher than the new cap. To combat these problems and help give struggling New Yorkers real property tax relief, the Senate Democratic highlighted proposals to help reduce property taxes and the overall burden on New Yorkers.

The legislation advanced by the Senate Democratic Conference includes bills that will:

·         Implement the Brooks Property Tax Relief Plan: This legislation, Senate Bill S.8828-A sponsored by Senator John Brooks, will provide significant tax relief to strapped taxpayers who are disproportionately funding more than 50% of school aid through property taxes. Senator Brooks’ plan will have the state step-up to assist school districts with additional aid so long as they provide tax relief to their property tax payers. This will provide significant tax relief statewide without bankrupting taxpayers and cash-strapped local governments.

·         Mitigate the Damage done by the Trump/Republican Tax Plan: This legislation, Senate Bill S.9063 sponsored by Democratic Deputy Leader Jeff Klein, will have state government step up and ensure that SALT deductions in excess of the federally mandated $10,000 cap remain in place for New Yorkers earning under $300,000 annually.

·         Enable New York’s Most Vulnerable Residents to Stay in their Homes and Communities: This legislation, Senate Bill S.772-A sponsored by Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, will empower local governments to raise the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption program and the Persons with Disabilities Real Property Tax Exemption to $50,000.

·         Update New York’s Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption Limits to Help More Seniors: As the current maximum income eligibility limit for the Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption (SCHE) from was set nearly a decade ago, many New York seniors have risen above the limit due to inflation. To address this concern, Senator Brad Hoylman sponsored legislation, Senate Bill S.572, to increase the $29,000 to $50,000 and tie future increases of the eligibility limit to the Consumer Price Index.

·         Cap Seniors’ Property Taxes: This legislation, Senate Bill S.9042 sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, will ensure that property taxes will be frozen for New York homeowners once they turn 65. While these New Yorkers, most of who are on fixed incomes, will continue to pay property taxes, this legislation will ensure that they will not be taxed out of their homes.

Bill Sponsor, Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Jeff Klein said, “This legislation not only provides much-needed tax relief for middle-class New Yorkers, it sends a clear message to the Trump administration that New York State will not allow our hardworking families to be attacked. The new state deduction that I have proposed will allow middle-income families who live in counties with high property taxes and local income taxes to offset the negative impacts of the cap imposed by the federal tax plan. I am proud to support this tax relief package introduced by the Senate Democratic Conference and hope that together we can work towards unburdening all New York State taxpayers.”

Bill sponsor, Senator John Brooks said, “For too long, New Yorkers, and especially Long Island families and residents, have been crushed by high property taxes. Now, under the Trump/Republican tax plan, we are going to have even greater hardships because our SALT deductions are being slashed. I introduced my educational property tax relief plan because the Senate Republicans have done nothing to help New Yorkers and especially Long Island taxpayers cope with the impending crisis. I will continue to stand up for my constituents, for Long Island families, and for all New Yorkers who need real relief from sky-high property taxes.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Middle class New Yorkers are desperate need of property tax relief, especially with the regressive tax policies of the Trump administration. Through these proposals, I look forward to working with Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and all of my Senate Democratic colleagues to make property taxes more fair and less burdensome on average New Yorkers.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Helping New York State’s senior citizens stay in the homes and communities they love should be a top priority for state government. My legislation will ensure that property taxes are capped for homeowners once they turn 65, so these expenses won’t become overly burdensome for senior citizens, many of whom are on fixed incomes. I am proud to stand with my Senate Democratic colleagues to advocate for our taxpayers and advance common sense proposals to help provide meaningful tax relief and reductions.”

Chair of the Senate Democratic Conference Senator Michael Gianaris said, “The awful Republican tax plan capping deductions for local taxes will make life even worse for already-suffering New York taxpayers. Senate Democrats recognize the need for serious property tax relief and are proposing real solutions to make living here more affordable.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “I applaud the Senate Democratic Conference for advancing these proposals that will significantly reduce the property tax burden on hardworking New Yorkers throughout our State. These proposals will not only counteract the negative effects of the Federal tax plan, it will help families and senior citizens better afford and be able to stay in their homes.”

Senator David Carlucci said, “Rockland and Westchester Counties have some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and it’s imperative we get homeowners some relief. With the federal government’s cap on the SALT deduction, we need to get these common sense measures passed.”

Senator Shelley Mayer said, “I am proud to stand today with my Senate Democratic colleagues in support of property tax reform measures that begin to provide New York’s homeowners, particularly seniors, much needed relief from the punitive Trump Tax plan. These measures begin to shift the cost of educating our children and providing critical services from our seniors and those on fixed incomes onto the state. The Trump Tax plan and the cap on the SALT deductions is a direct attack on the residents of my district and Westchester homeowners. I am pleased to support the set of legislative proposals put forth today which brings real property tax relief to those who need it most.”

Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, “I represent thousands of homeowners who struggle every day, especially seniors who are increasingly feeling the stress of the housing crisis. Seniors who own their own homes are struggling to maintain them as gentrification drives up home values, causing their property taxes to skyrocket. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of these bills, which will provide much needed relief to homeowners throughout my district and all of New York.”

Senator Roxanne Persaud said, “High property taxes, especially for those on fixed incomes can result in foreclosure, eviction, and homelessness. I join my Democratic colleagues in fighting to ease the burden on vulnerable property owners. This would offer a welcome relief for the most vulnerable in New York and especially the seniors who want - and have a right to - age in place, in their communities."

Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “The high property and school tax burden on New Yorkers is a serious problem with serious consequences on the financial health of our families, communities and our entire State. I stand in full support of all efforts that will make New York a more affordable place to live and work while bringing tax fairness to all our communities.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “In addition to property tax relief, we must include those who own condos and cooperatives. For many middle-class New Yorkers this is their opportunity for ownership. Our current tax system unfairly assesses these shareholders as if they are landlords who have income producing rental units. It is time we bring tax relief to millions of New Yorkers and create a new tax classification for co-ops and condos.”