A property tax cap rebellion?

Newsday is reporting that 34 of the 234 municipalities which have reported their budgets to the state Comptroller’s Office have voted to override the new state property tax cap. Thousands more have yet to report to the comptroller; some of them, including St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, have taken the preliminary steps of a public hearing and a local law that will allow an override if and when  local officials decide they can’t live within the 2 percent limit on increases.

The New York Times is also reporting local pushback on the tax cap today.

The communities, which include affluent New York City suburbs and rural communities near the border with Canada, are declaring that they cannot restrain the growth of property taxes and still comply with a variety of state-mandated programs and provide the services residents expect.

The Times quotes Gregory J. Edwards, the county executive of Chautauqua County. He’s a Republican who ran for lieutenant governor last year. In a letter to residents this month he called the cap  a political “scam.”

“The 2 percent property-tax cap is nothing more than a campaign slogan meant to get them re-elected and give local leaders the pain for their failure to act,” Mr. Edwards wrote in his letter, referring to Albany lawmakers.

According to the Times, Edwards has proposed a tax increase of nearly 13 percent for Chautauqua County, which he says is entirely attributable to increases in state-mandated costs.

There’s more:

Each passing day seems to bring a new act of legislative rebellion. In just one week this month, on Monday, the Town Board in Hammond, in the Thousand Islands region, voted to override the cap; on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors in Seneca County introduced a measure to do the same thing; on Wednesday, town officials in Massena, in St. Lawrence County, passed their own override; and on Thursday, the Town Board in Harrietstown, in the Adirondacks, followed suit.

And from Cuomo:

But Mr. Cuomo is now emphasizing the cap’s symbolic value, saying “this mentality of automatic pilot, where the property taxes just keep going up 5, 6, 7 percent every year,” will no longer be tolerated by New Yorkers. Indeed, in some communities, residents have chastised their local officials for not sufficiently embracing his push to keep taxes down.

“What you’re seeing this year, which you didn’t see in years past: there is much more attention and discussion about the increases in the property tax,” Mr. Cuomo said. “That is a great accomplishment and a great positive.”

What do you think?

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20 Comments on “A property tax cap rebellion?”

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  1. scratchy says:

    This problem could be solved if lawmakers were willing to stand up to the public employee unions. STate lawmakers need to repeal some of the pro-public employee union mandates that artificially mandate personnel costs and local officials needs to demand union concessions with regard to unaffordable benefits costs.

  2. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    Unfortunately the costs of labor is only part of the problem. And in fact local entities are pushing back with regard to union wages, health care costs, etc. Lewis County rejecting the latest union offer for a large bargaining unit of their gov’t being a good example. The counties share of Medicaid costs are perhaps the largest “unfunded mandate” and until that changes counties at least will continue to struggle to meet their budgets. If state politicians really wanted to provide property tax relief, they’d push for the state to cover the entire cost of this program or at least reform the program in such a way as to significantly lessen the local costs. But that would take true leadership, compromise, and political risk. Things that seem sorely lacking in the state Assembly and Senate.

  3. Pete Klein says:

    Everyone who wants their taxes raised by any level of government, raise your hands.
    Everyone who wants their government services cut and see their friends and neighbors put out of work, raise your hands.
    Cuomo is a fraud. He is trying to appeal to the first natural knee jerk reaction while refusing to do anything about state and federal mandates.
    Let’s face it. He like many of our elected officials are in the top five to one percent in terms of overall income. Their lifestyle is not hurt by what is hurting everyone else. They just want to protect themselves and those who give them money to get elected and don’t give a hoot about anyone else.
    Blame the poor. Blame the middle class. Blame unions. Blame non elected government workers. As Cain who slew Able says, “If you don’t have a job, it’s your fault.”

  4. Mervel says:

    He is also against the millionaires tax.


    Which makes some sense he knows who is paying his way. He is one of them as is his buddy Bloomburg and many of the other Democrat plutocrats.

  5. FarmerJoe says:

    History will repeat itselt, Rome!

  6. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    If any of our elected leaders were worth a damn they would have been Occupying Albany many years ago and demanding that the state stop balancing its own budget by pushing costs onto local government.

    Off topic but here’s a good graphic that illustrates income inequality.

  7. Mervel says:

    To me it is not the inequality. But the problem is as your graphic explains, that while some grow extremely or obscenely wealthy, the bottom is actually getting poorer in real terms. This to me is the injustice.

    If the really rich got really richer, but the rest of us and the poor got a little better also, well that would be okay. But when you move to a sort of feudal situation, you are looking at social instability. At some point people have nothing left to lose.

  8. Mervel says:

    That kind of crony capitalism might work in Russia, but it won’t work here, people won’t put up with it they are used to having a say and having rights and they will rebel.

  9. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    You put your finger (cursor?) on the correct word — injustice. I guess you have figured out what all the OWS protesters are protesting, Mervel. You must be much smarter than most of the talking heads at FoxNews who can’t seem to figure it out.

    On the rebellion front you are sadly mistaken, however. In many parts of the world people have a much better record of going to the streets to stand up to power, and doing it more effectively, than we have here.

  10. Pete Klein says:

    What really bothers me about many of the super rich is how they moan and groan so much. Life must be tough for them. It’s like everyone is supposed to be sorry for them. They want us to realize it is very expensive to be rich. While we cut our own grass, shovel our own snow, do our own taxes, clean our own house, these poor dears have to hire illegals to do everything for them. Why I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to hire some one to clean their butt after going to the bathroom, helpless as they are. It costs lots of money to be rich and money must be set aside to buy politicians. They think we should understand all this and cut them some slack.

  11. Walker says:

    Pete, you’re missing the really big problem of the super-wealthy. The top 0.01% are pulling down $9+ million per year; that’s $170,000 every week, almost $25,000 a day. It is a real burden to find the time to spend that kind of money while you’re busy “earning” it. The really wealthy have to hire people not to wipe their butts, but to spend their money for them. It’s not easy. There are only so many $6,000 shower curtains out there.

  12. Pete Klein says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Walker.

  13. Gary says:

    if I’m not mistaken this is the umpteenth time this month we have had the 2 per cent tax cap issue. I can see why so many are wandering away. Common NCPR certainly you can get more creative than this!

  14. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Okay, not on topic again but peaceful protests against corporate power are met with tear gas and rubber bullets and police critically injure an Iraq War vet.

    Peaceful protesters!!!!! Just like the peaceful protests against the Iraq war.


  15. Mervel says:

    I think that is a bungled local response. Oakland does not have a record of competence in this whole area.

    I think NYC is handling this correctly, let these guys go.

    But on your earlier point;I don’t think so Knuckle. I agree we don’t protest as much as some; but we also have a pretty strong record of making social change through both the ballot box and through other means, not necessarily street protests.

    In this case though my concern is that without any agenda at all, sooner or later the losers will infiltrate and these protests will turn violent, when that happens you have a Republican victory secured. People are already suspect but I think they are giving the group some leeway; but once they start rioting they will lose the vast majority of middle working America and without them this movement is lost.

  16. Mervel says:

    The cops are part of the 99%, in fact they are more part of the 99% than the overly educated kids with 100k in college loans from private schools who have the time and money to protest.

    Get the cops and fireman on your side and you will then have a true movement of the 99%.

  17. Walker says:

    Well, that would require that the cops and firefighters pay attention enough to realize that it’s the 1% (and their “news” outlet) that wants to bust their unions, drain their pensions, cut their pay, raise their taxes, scrimp on their kids educations, and let their highways and bridges crumble. Cops and firefighters who aren’t already behind Occupy Wall Street just aren’t thinking straight.

  18. myown says:

    Wall Street considers NYC cops their own private security force. And to keep the cops on their side they do little things like donate $4.6 million to the NYC Police Foundation.

    So we the taxpayers bailout Wall Street firms yet there is $4.6 million to give away to influence the level of security provided by a public police department.


  19. oa says:

    Mervel, The only riots will be cop riots, like in Oakland.

  20. Mervel says:

    All I am saying this needs to be a workers movement to really have an impact and maybe it is? But if they have disdain for cops you have a major problem right off the bat, just like in the 60’s, it won’t make any sense to have the elite protesters many coming from families who are in the 1% fighting cops who are the real 99%. They have to be very careful of that being the portrayal of this effort.

    Oakland has a history of thuggery and not always from the cops, I just don’t think you can compare what is going on there to the rest of the cities.

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