It’s no secret that year after year New York is rated as one of the nation’s worst tax environments. High taxes drive away residents and businesses, increase the cost of living, and inhibit economic growth. It’s no coincidence that New York has recently fallen behind Florida to the fourth most populous state, a direct result of out-migration.
New York’s taxes are some of the highest in the U.S., and a permanent cap on property tax growth is an important component to help alleviate some of the burden New Yorkers are up against. While there is much work to be done to give New Yorkers the economic climate they deserve, we must start by putting in place a long-term plan to inhibit harmful, increasing property taxes. Making the tax cap permanent this session is a step toward that goal.
LEGISLATURE MUST SHOW A COMMITMENT TO REFORM
When an opportunity to take measures that will fix a widespread and well documented problem like high taxes comes along, it is imperative we act boldly and with resolve. By doing so, we not only work toward a solution to the problem, but we show our commitment and support to the families, small-business owners, and residents of New York. They deserve nothing less.
Earlier this year, polls from Siena College showed overwhelming support for the cap, which limits the growth in property taxes levied to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. But on June 15 the cap is set to expire. I implore all lawmakers in both chambers of the Legislature to take a strong stance against the pervasive tax climate that has hampered New Yorkers for years.
UNFUNDED MANDATES MUST ALSO BE ADDRESSED
Making the tax cap permanent is important, but it’s just one step. The true driver of high property taxes is unfunded mandates. Too often, Albany forces expensive programs onto local governments with no financial resources to help localities carry out state requirements. As those mandates pile up, costs increase for local governments, which then compensate for the funding gap by raising taxes.
If we are going to provide real relief to taxpayers, we must eliminate the root problem. I am sponsoring bill A.528 to prohibit new unfunded mandates placed on school districts and governments. If the state requires something of a local government, it should pay for it. Forcing localities to do things and leaving them high and dry to fund them is unfair. State government should be accountable for what it asks of others.
The tax cap takes the right approach by limiting what localities can tax its residents. But Albany needs to also limit the costs it is allowed to inflict on municipalities. State government must make the same commitment that we are asking local governments to make. Anything short of that is ineffective and hypocritical.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.