2018-01-16 / Opinion

Senator Bonacic’s View

With the recent changes to federal tax laws, there has been a renewed focus on the impact of high property taxes in New York. We need to address this issue in three ways: making the tax cap permanent; reconsid­ering how we fund education and provide mandate relief; and tackling out-of-control tax ex­emptions and abuses.

The Senate has again passed legislation to make the tax cap permanent, which has to date saved taxpayers $23 billion statewide. This bill passed over­whelmingly in 2015, 2016, and 2017* but has not been brought for a vote on the floor of the As­sembly.

However, simply capping the rate of growth of property taxes is not enough – we must reduce the main driver of our high property taxes – school taxes. That is why I have reintroduced legislation to allow school dis­tricts, at voter option, to phase out school property taxes on primary residences over five years and replace the lost rev­enue with increased state aid**. This legislation has also previ­ously passed the Senate and died in the Assembly.

Finally, we need to address the issue of out-of-control property tax exemptions. Based on year 2013 assessment rolls, $826 billion in property value, nearly one-third of the value of all the property in New York, is exempt from taxation. In order to reform these property tax ex­emptions, I have long fought for a package of bills to reign in the abuses in the system***.

I look forward to working this session to bring real relief to the taxpayers of New York.





*S.5597 of 2015-16, S.1207 of 2017-18

**S.7270 of 2018

***S.992, S.993, S.995-A, S.996 of 2017-18

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