May 24, 2011

Speaker Silver Unveils Assembly's Property Tax Cap Legislation to Provide Relief for Hardworking Families Across New York State

Measure would restrict property tax increases to two percent annually

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (center), flanked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (left) and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (right), unveiled the Assembly's two percent real property tax cap legislation at a news conference in the Red Room of the Capitol. Silver said property taxes in New York State were too high and just as working families must live within their means, government must do the same.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today unveiled legislation to provide real relief for hard working men and women across New York State by capping local property taxes at two percent while at the same time including important safeguards to ensure communities are able to provide critical services for their citizens. The legislation prohibits local governments and school districts from exceeding the two percent threshold on the total tax levy and requires a 60 percent vote to override the levy.

"Our message to property owners who have struggled under the burden of soaring taxes is simple," said Speaker Silver (D-Manhattan). "Hard working families are saddled with some of the highest property taxes in the nation and need real relief in order to be able to live and raise their children in New York State. Just as families have to live within a budget, so too should our government. With this legislation, we are finally able to bring property taxes under control and still provide critical services."

The Assembly's proposal is realistically grounded and includes important safeguards for local communities in order to encourage growth and give them the ability to deliver critical services. Specifically, the bill (A.7916, Silver) would:

The measure would maintain existing statewide budget timelines for school districts and requires a 60 percent voter approval to override the levy. If the budget is rejected, the school district may resubmit for another vote or adopt a zero tax levy growth budget. School districts would be required to adopt a zero tax levy growth budget if the proposal is twice rejected by voters.

"This property tax cap proposal is designed to save money for the working families across the state struggling during these difficult economic times, while ensuring that our school districts and local governments are not denied the ability to deliver critical services," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "This model will allow for adequate growth, without shortchanging our schools and communities."

The tax cap would take effect for the 2012 fiscal year for local governments and the 2012-2013 school budget year and includes a sunset provision that would coincide with provisions related to rent stabilization in order to determine if the legislation is working as intended.