Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today traveled to Onondaga County to sign New York's first property tax cap.
The tax cap, a hallmark of Governor Cuomo's campaign and a priority of his administration's first year, will finally deliver relief to millions of homeowners and business owners across the state who for too long have been burdened by out-of-control property taxes.
Governor Cuomo signed the property tax cap at the home of Chris and Tina Maroney in Syracuse. Like many taxpayers in Onondaga County, the Maroneys, parents of two children, have made sacrifices to afford the state's skyrocketing property taxes. Chris is the store manager for VP Supply Inc, a plumbing and heating products company, and Tina Maroney is a medical transcriptionist for ExecuScribe Inc. This past year the Maroney's property tax bill increased over 38 percent and they now pay more than $5,000 annually in property taxes, well above the median property tax bill in New York state. This law will provide meaningful tax relief to the Maroney family and other homeowners across New York.
"This property tax cap is designed to provide much-needed relief to families like the Maroneys who are sick and tired of the continually skyrocketing property taxes," Governor Cuomo said. "Placing a limit on property tax increases will help keep New York families and businesses here in the Empire State and put our state on the path to economic prosperity. The days when New York is known as the tax capital of the nation are over."
Property taxes in Onondaga County rank among the highest in the nation when measured as a percentage of home value. While property tax bills in the U.S. are on average less than 1% of home value, taxpayers in Onondaga pay 2.5%. Using this measure, 13 of the 16 highest taxed counties in the U.S. are in New York.
Under the new law, property tax increases will be capped at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Local communities and local voters could override the cap with a 60 percent vote on the budget for school boards or relevant legislative bodies.
Senator John A. DeFrancisco said, "This historic property tax cap signals the beginning of a new day in New York where finally the end of ever-increasing property taxes is in sight. The taxpayers have spoken and their voices were heard loud and clear. I applaud Governor Cuomo's leadership and his partnership with the State Senate in working to make this tax cap a reality, and this is a great moment for New York state."
Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli said, "For countless homeowners and businesses in Onondaga County and all across New York, this property tax cap is a significant step toward rebuilding New York state. I worked alongside Governor Cuomo during the legislative session fighting for a property tax cap, and it is a victory to be here in Syracuse today celebrating this historic achievement."
This cap on property taxes includes safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services for New Yorkers. There will be limited exceptions to the cap, including:
* Judgments or court orders arising out of tort actions that exceed 5 percent of the localities' levy
* Certain growth in pension costs where the system's average rate increases by more than 2 percentage points from the previous year; the amount of contributions above the 2 percentage points will be excluded from the limit
* Growth in tax levies due to economic development
The new law institutes a property tax cap to protect homeowners and businesses from skyrocketing property tax hikes for the first time in New York history. For more than 15 years, both houses of the Legislature along with three governors have talked about a property tax cap for New York's overburdened homeowners with no results. New York's property taxes are among the highest taxes in the nation:
* The median U.S. property tax paid is $1,917; in New York, it's $3,755 -- 96 percent higher than the national average
* As a percentage of personal income, New York has the highest local taxes in the nation -- 79 percent above the national average
* From 1998 to 2008, property tax levies in New York grew by more than 73 percent -- more than twice the rate of inflation during that span
* Companies pay five times more in property taxes than they do in corporate taxes
* New York -- especially Upstate New York -- continues to hemorrhage population and jobs at a greater rate than the national average