MINORITY LEADER JAMES N. TEDISCO
December 1, 2008
Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga):
"With the issuance of its final report to Governor Paterson and the state Legislature this afternoon, the State Commission on Property Tax Relief has met its responsibility and done so in a thoughtful and deliberate manner befitting the serious mission they were charged with. As our Assembly Minority Conference and I proceed with a careful review of the Commission's final report, at first glance I can offer my support for many of its recommendations, primarily among them the need for a real property tax cap. The Commission's recognition of the significant role that unfunded mandate relief must play in reducing property taxes is also important and should similarly command the Legislature's attention.
If the Governor is truly serious about making the real property tax cap a reality, then he should include the Commission's recommendations as part of the 2009-10 Executive Budget he will submit to the Legislature in a few weeks. Doing so would send an unmistakable message of the Governor's intentions and show his strong support for a property tax cap.
For the past several years, our Conference and I have sounded the alarm on New York's mounting property tax crisis and the urgent need for a real property tax cap. We advanced legislation that would enact a cap - the 'New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act' - because we believed it unacceptable that homeowners across our state pay the highest property tax levies in America. For this to change, Albany must change. We must break the partisan logjam caused by the Assembly Speaker, the only Legislative Leader who opposes the cap, which has prevented property tax relief from ever reaching the Assembly floor for a vote. That the Senate passed a property tax cap back in August, and the Assembly has still failed to do so, merely underscores the need for real change.
It is sad, but not surprising, that the Speaker turned a deaf ear to the pleas for help from New York homeowners being crushed by property taxes. The economic crisis that has embroiled New York, coupled with the Commission's final report, should be the impetus for the Speaker to finally act. I would urge Governor Paterson to use the considerable power of his bully pulpit to cajole the Speaker into ending his opposition to the property tax cap. The Speaker can use our tax cap legislation - Assembly Bill A.8775-A - as a starting point.
I want to recognize all the hard work that Commission members have made toward meeting their mission, continually soliciting public input and formulating their final recommendations for the Legislature's review. Under the direction of Chairman Tom Suozzi, the Commission has done an admirable job advancing the cause of property tax relief by recommending the adoption of a property tax cap to solve New York's tax crisis."