This week, Senator Bill Larkin comments on Governor George E. Pataki’s budget vetoes and what they mean to New Yorkers.
"Last December the Senate first approved a plan to provide direct property tax rebate checks to the hardworking, overburdened taxpayers of New York State," said Senator Larkin. "Tax relief was, and still is, our number one priority. Recently, Comptroller Hevesi released a report stating that New York State residents are paying the highest property taxes in the country and that they have increased at triple the rate of inflation, with the average property tax bill increasing 60 percent.
"The Comptroller has also issued close-out numbers for the fiscal year that show a $5 billion State budget surplus. This is more than enough money to meet the state’s needs and to return a significant amount of money back to the taxpayers. The Governor believes there are legal issues standing in the way of property tax relief and wants to leave the issue up to the courts to decide. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake and will benefit no one.
"The Legislature will be in session through June. There is still time to reach an agreement to provide hardworking New Yorkers with real property tax relief. We will continue to try to convince the Governor to reach a compromise. This is the priority of the hardworking taxpayers of New York. This is the priority that makes a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers and this is the priority the people of this State have demanded and deserve."