Albany, NY - Since 2017 the New York State Senate's Committee on Government Operations and Investigations has been seeking an answer many taxpayers in Westchester County have wondered: Why New York State does not pay its fair share on state owned land. As Chairman of the committee, New York State Senator Terrence Murphy has been asking the Office of Real Property Tax the same question. Now a bill he has authored, S.5481A, that would yield current data of the situation has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Now New York State will collect and provide an inventory of all state-owned lands in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties, as well as the fiscal impact should the state be required to provide compensation for these properties. The report is due on or before December 1, 2018.
State Senator Terrence Murphy said, "Today is a victory for local taxpayers as we move a step closer to rectifying another Albany policy that picks winners and losers with no justification. If New York State is paying taxes in one county it should pay in all. This study will provide accurate information to determine the next steps in the process to make sure New York treats all taxpayers the same regardless of what county they live in."
A recent review by the Journal News shed more light on the gross disparity of New York's untaxed land policy. While the Empire State pays taxes, which include school, county and town, on all 59,000 acres in Putnam and Rockland Counties, it pays the same only on 1% of the state owned land in Westchester County.
In the 40th Senate District, Donald J. Trump State Park straddles both Putnam and Westchester Counties. In typical Albany fashion, Putnam County and the town of Putnam Valley receive revenue from New York State for the Indian Hill section of the park but neither Westchester County or the Town of Yorktown collect money for the 154 acre French Hill section of the park. According to a 2016 Journal News report, there is a total of 7,000 acres in Westchester County that New York State does not pay taxes on.
Murphy added, "There are examples all across New York State of a mix and match policy that cheats taxpayers while supporting others. For the first time in years we will have an accurate understanding of how much Westchester taxpayers are being gypped which will give my fellow lawmakers the necessary information to fix it. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation and look forward to working on real tax relief for residents of the Hudson Valley."