Cuomo, Assembly Democrats Reach Deal on Property Tax Cap

from  NYSAR 
On REALTOR Lobby Day, when more than 320 REALTORS from across New York State were in  Albany to advocate for the property tax cap, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats reached a deal to indeed cap the growth of property taxes in New York to two percent a year.

Last month, NYSAR launched a statewide multimedia “Cap that Tax” campaign in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed two-percent cap on property taxes. The campaign has been a resounding success, resulting in thousands of people from all across New York writing lawmakers in support of a cap.

To read more about the deal, see the below article by the Democrat and Chronicle:

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats have reached a deal to cap the growth of property taxes in New York to 2 percent a year and carve out limited exemptions for burgeoning pension costs.

The agreement would also put an expiration date on the cap, linking it to the expiration for rent regulations for New York City and its suburbs. The current rent regulations, which expire next month, were for eight years.
Cuomo endorsed the plan this morning, calling it a “very good plan.”

“It’s long overdue,” Cuomo said on Talk 1300-AM in Albany. “It would make a dramatic difference for the better in this state. The Assembly’s proposal is right on line with every piece I’ve had in my proposal.”

The sudden compromise between Cuomo and the Assembly now puts the onus on Senate Republican to sign off on it for it to become law. In January, Senate Republicans approved a stricter cap first proposed by Cuomo that had no exemptions for pension costs, and they’ve been reluctant to agree to changes.

Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate Republicans, said the conference would evaluate the proposal, but sounded optimistic about the changes.

“We’re reviewing the bill now and will formally conference it later today, but it includes many of the things Senate Republicans have been pushing for three years, since we first passed a property tax cap,” Reif said.

“Senator Skelos has insisted on a strong cap and elevated the property tax cap as a post-budget issue this year. We view this as a positive development in our efforts to enact a property tax cap.”

But as Gannett’s Albany bureau first reported earlier this month, Assembly Democrats were seeking some exemptions to pension costs in the cap to provide some relief to local governments and schools, as well as a sunset provision. Municipalities have warned that pension costs alone would likely exceed the 2 percent cap.

“Our message to property owners who have struggled under the burden of soaring taxes is simple,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, in a statement this morning in announcing the compromise bill. “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.”

The compromise would exempt pension payments from the cap that grow more than 2 percent a year. For example, next year pension costs for local governments are expected to grow from 16 percent to 19 percent of payroll — so all but the final 1 percent would be included in the cap.

The deal would also include Cuomo’s plan to require a 60 percent vote of residents in a community to override the tax cap for school budgets. Local governments and schools would also be able to carry over up to 1.5 percent from one year to the next if their tax levy is below the 2 percent cap.

Another exemption would allow local governments and school districts to adjust the tax levy higher than 2 percent if there’s a substantial growth in a community’s population.

The tax cap would take effect for the 2012 fiscal year for local governments and the 2012-13 school budget year, which starts July 1, 2012.

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