Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced support from more than 260 local elected officials for his plan to cut property taxes. The Governor's proposal to cut property taxes and encourage local governments to reduce costs was detailed by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy during an event earlier today at the Chemung County Executive Office in Elmira.
"Sky-high property taxes have been an unsustainable financial burden for working- and middle-class families in the Southern Tier and all across the State. We capped property taxes and now we have to cut them," Governor Cuomo said. "Our tax reform proposal provides more than $1 billion in relief to those New Yorkers while also encouraging local governments to cut costs and share services in order to address the incredible tax rates that currently exist. This is an agenda that has attracted support from hundreds of local leaders across the State, who recognize the importance of increasing government's efficiency and standing up for the taxpayer. I urge the legislature to join us by passing property tax reform this year."
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "Under Governor Cuomo's proposal to cut property taxes, we have an opportunity to provide much needed financial relief to New York's homeowners. We're seeing a tremendous array of support from our local officials like County Executive Santulli, who recognize the role that government must play in changing our reputation as the tax capital of the nation. Pushing for consolidation among our localities will help families across the Southern Tier by making their communities more affordable and lifting the weight of significant property taxes that have persisted for too long."
Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli said, "I concur with the Governor's statement that there are an excessive number of taxing districts, most of which are local governments, in New York State. The vast majority of these governments provide the same level of services to their residents which results in excessive duplication of resources and substantial cost to the taxpayers. As part of an effort to address this problem, Chemung County is now providing all IT and purchasing services for the City of Elmira. We are also working with the City to consolidate our highway departments into a single operation. We recently signed an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of Big Flats to provide administrative and personnel supervision to their highway department. We are also looking at opportunities to share and consolidate engineering and IT functions with the Town. We are offering these same services, including an array of financial and budgetary services, to every municipality in our county. As we move forward, this sharing of services on a county-wide level would substantially lower costs to local taxpayers."
Chair of the Chemung County Legislature Donna Draxler said "I commend Governor Cuomo for standing with the homeowners of our state and fighting to cut property taxes. As local officials, one of the best things we can do to alleviate the problem of high-property taxes is to find new and innovate ways to cut costs and share services. The Governor is right to encourage local governments to do that, and the legislature should pass his property tax reform proposal this year and make real tax relief a reality."
Town of Big Flats Supervisor Ed Fairbrother said "It's no secret that property taxes are high in New York State -- but that doesn't mean there is nothing we can do to tackle the issue. Governor Cuomo is right that we need to make government more efficient in order to reduce costs on the taxpayer, and I stand with him in his call for local governments to share services. On top of cutting costs, the Governor's program would mean hundreds of dollars in tax relief to homeowners throughout Big Flats. This is how we can truly tackle the root of the issue and ensure relief not just over the next few years, but for the long-term."
The Governor's plan would freeze property taxes for two years in communities where the local government also takes steps to consolidate and share services, and would provide relief based on an individual homeowner's ability to pay. During year two of the Governor's freeze proposal, approximately 171,800 Southern Tier homeowners could benefit, with total savings of as much as $30 million and an average benefit of $175. Under the circuit breaker proposal, approximately 97,500 households will qualify for an average real property personal income tax credit of $333, totaling $32 million in savings to Southern Tier residents.