Harckham’s Real Property Tax Saturation Bill Passed in Senate

State Sen. Pete Harckham

Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham announced today that the Senate has passed legislation he introduced that addresses real property tax saturation—the high percentages of tax-exempt properties in certain municipalities and how they impact overall economic viability.

Harckham’s bill (S.1202) will authorize the state board of real property tax services to conduct a study of real property tax saturation that starts by determining which municipalities in New York bear the largest brunt of tax-exempt property within their jurisdictions.

“Municipalities with a great number of tax-exempt properties on their books are being unfairly burdened, and this is how we can start to help,” said Harckham. “With all the economic challenges that residents are facing, there are major inequities that need to be resolved.”

After pinpointing which counties fall into the top twentieth percentile of those with the highest percentage of tax-exempt properties, the study authorized by the legislation will look at the impact such properties have had on housing (including new construction) and the growth of population, small businesses and new jobs over the preceding five years. Also at issue is how much tax-exempt dedicated park land is in the municipalities.

Finally, the legislation asks for possible revisions to real property tax policies, plus procedures and practices that have the potential to reduce the tax burden in properties within particularly hard-hit counties. A report of the study’s finding would need to be completed within a year of the legislation being signed into law.

“We have been dealing with inequities in regard to tax-exempt properties here for too long, so Senator Harckham’s efforts in addressing this situation are much appreciated,” said Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi. “Every time a taxable property comes off the tax roll, somebody else is picking up the bill. This is hurting our residents.”

About 30 percent of the real property in Mount Pleasant is tax-exempt, said Fulgenzi, who suggested that municipalities have a cap on the percentage of such properties.