Local governments that want to raise property taxes next year will be limited to two percent increases, according to a determination set last week by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. For high tax New York, it's one of the few bright spots, says Assemblywoman Pat Fahy.
“On a global level, I think it is probably the single most popular thing the governor has pushed since he's come into office and in terms of stemming the bleeding of people leaving the state because of property taxes, I think it has actually helped,” said Fahy
The cap has been credited for controlling property taxes, but Fahy notes it comes with a trade-off. Local governments have had less money to spend on services.
“It's a push-pull here,” said Fahy. “Extremely popular on a broad level, but when people see their services constrained on a local level, they recognize that part of this is because of the tax cap.”
The cap has been in place now for seven years. During his tenure as governor, David Paterson tried and failed to convince the Legislature to approve a tax cap.
“By putting this in, Governor Cuomo did a lot, but I think they would like to do more,” said Patterson. “And I think with some cooperation, they might even look at ways of saving expenditures for upstate facilities as well as the residents that live there.”
Paterson agrees the tax cap has been able to reduce the number of people who wanted to leave New York and avoid paying its high property taxes.
“I think it slowed the migration out of New York State because they just could not pay all the local taxes and the state taxes as well,” said Patterson.
The tax cap is set at either two-percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. It can be overridden with a two-thirds vote.