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Monday, July 20, 2015

I received two (2) posts from Empire Center in my Facebook newsfeed today…

First is a link to the Property Tax Calculator, found on

This application will calculate the combined property tax rate and total average property tax bill, including schools and local governments, in every New York locality; you can actually compare taxes of two or more municipalities and school districts by choosing the towns and/or villages plus the school district and entering the assessed value of your home.

This application is somewhat flawed for use other than for comparing total dollars paid in taxes. One must remember that a home assessed for $150,000 in one municipality is not necessarily comparable to a home assessed for $150,000 in another municipality because of the various equalization rates of each municipality.

The second link is regarding the coming year’s property tax cap.

According to the article, Brace yourself for lower tax hikes, written by by E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center:
The starting point for computing next year’s local property tax cap in most of New York State will be less than 1 percent—and so state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning local governments “brace for … [lower] growth in property tax revenues.”
However, he warns:
”…that the inflation rate is just a starting point. All it takes to override the tax cap, for any reason, is a vote of a 60 percent supermajority of the entity’s governing board. In towns across the state, a supermajority requires the same three votes as a simple majority. In the vast majority of counties, cities and villages, governing board supermajorities are controlled by members of one political party, who presumably won’t find it too hard to agree to raise taxes higher if there’s a real need.”

“On the school level, the supermajority must come from the voters themselves–which is why school districts have been working harder to sell their proposals to the electorate in the past four years.”

Mr. McMahon shared a portion of a press release issue by Comptroller DiNapoli says in part:
“Municipalities may have to operate differently under these new limits. Even tougher budget choices may be required on staffing levels, delivery of services, fund balance reductions, and deferral of capital and infrastructure projects. And if inflation trends continue, it is possible that some local governments with fiscal years beginning later in 2016, including school districts, could be faced with zero growth in property tax revenue.”
Towns will be starting to get their budgets together sometime in August; a Tentative Budget must be filed in the town clerks office by September 30th. I wonder how many municipalities and schools don’t have a fund balance to tap and will instead be forced to choose to either cut staff and/or services or increase taxes.

How many town and village board members will be willing to vote to override the tax cap? How many taxpayers will be willing to vote "yes" for a school budget that is slated to be over the tax cap?

Definitely some food for thought!

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