Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 27, 2006

Assembly Minority Delivers Budget Ultimatum
Will not vote for any budget that doesn't include significant property tax relief

Assembly Minority members today pledged not to vote for any state budget that doesn't include significant property tax relief this year.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) said he was dismayed that during the course of public budget negotiations not once has property tax relief been open for real debate and discussion.

"I have been to five general conference committees and not once have we had a real discussion on what my conference believes is the single most important issue facing homeowners today - relief from the crushing burden of property taxes," said Tedisco. "We are getting close to the 11th hour so my conference is taking a stand and demanding that property tax relief be part of the debate right now and that action is taken. Not only is the budget clock ticking but the patience of many homeowners is ticking and many will continue to flee to other states if nothing is done."

Tedisco criticized a Majority property tax relief proposal offered last month that he described as "meager." He said many homeowners under the plan would receive zero property tax relief.

Under the Majority plan, to receive a tax break a homeowner's property taxes must be greater than 7.5 percent of their household income, meaning that a working family with a household income of $70,000 and a property tax bill of $5,250 or less would not receive any relief. The maximum amount homeowners could receive if they did qualify would be $200 this year.

Tedisco said that while many homeowners do not pay more than 7.5 percent of their combined household income in property taxes, their burden is still crushing when it's five, six or seven percent of one's combined income. He said one has to consider the state, federal, gas, sales and numerous other taxes that New Yorkers are subject to, on top of the health, education and other household costs they pay.

Under the Assembly Minority plan, every homeowner who receives STAR would receive additional and substantial property tax relief. Average homeowners would save $715 annually, and the average senior $1,256

The Minority plan increases STAR exemption rates to better reflect today's property taxes and calls for a Co-STAR program to reduce county taxes. It also proposes an elimination of unfunded mandates, a major crackdown on Medicaid waste and fraud, and holding the line on runaway spending so the relief is lasting.

"So far we've been talking a lot of spending, but not enough taxpayer relief. Time is running out and we need to act now," said Tedisco.

Local taxes in New York are the highest in the country, 72 percent above the national average.

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