Sunday, April 24, 2011

New York's property tax nightmare

New York Tax Levy versus inflation
Slowly, over the last decade, the American Dream of homeownership has turned for many New Yorkers into a nightmare of property taxes growing out of control.

For three decades, private and public studies have identified high taxes on real estate as a major threat to the state's economy. Nationwide comparisons consistently put several New York counties, mostly upstate, among the most taxed anywhere. It's a distinction shared with some counties in New Jersey, where a taxpayer revolt has begun to shift the state's politics.

Five-figure annual tax bills on the best real estate have become a reality, driving retired New Yorkers to give up their longtime homes and rethink their lives, and forcing families to scrimp and defer dreams.

Even while the Consumer Price Index -- a measure of our ever-rising cost of living -- grew at a pace of only a few percentage points annually in recent years, growth of the property tax burden upstate has hovered close to 7 percent a year. Over the last decade, outside New York City -- where a city income tax keeps the property tax low -- the property tax burden has grown at a rate double that of wage growth.

Suozzi has been calling for changes for years. The key recommendation of his commission is now at the heart of the debate: installing a cap on how much school districts and local governments can raise taxes each year.

He likes the one Attorney General Andrew Cuomo proposed late this summer after he began his campaign for governor: a cap at 2 percent growth of the tax levy or at the inflation rate, whichever is lower.

Read More here ...

By Bob Port and James M. Odato

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Long Island Property taxes most important issue, say LIers

No surprise here ! To stop this ridiculous rise in property taxes we have to educate our fellow LIers and contact your representative that they should demand Speaker Silver respond to the pleas of homeowners across the state and support a property tax cap in New York. It has already passed the senate but is being stalled in the Assembly by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Also this year we are seeing some enormous rise in property taxes in school districts such as
William Floyd 12.47% and Seaford 8.99%. Some school districts such as Middle country is resorting to blackmailing its residents. The deal for districts residents is either approved a 6.68% increase or the district is going to force 21.61% increase in tax levy.

Published by THOMAS MAIER at Newsday

By a wide margin, property taxes are the most important issue facing Long Islanders, according to a Newsday / News 12 Long Island / Siena Research Institute Poll. Property taxes were cited overall by 45 percent of respondents, more than twice the 21 percent who cited "availability of good jobs" as the second most pressing issue for Long Islanders. "Property taxes are really an issue here because it keeps the young people from staying on Long Island and it will prevent the older people from staying, too," Tafuri explained.

Property taxes also are a large part of why the 57 percent of those polled said Long Islanders are headed in the "wrong direction" rather than the "right track" in the poll. A similar margin said New York State was headed in the wrong direction as well.

Property taxes are a particularly raw issue in Nassau County, where 53 percent cited them as the biggest issue, compared to 36 percent in Suffolk. Islandwide, Republicans and people 55 years or older complained about property taxes the most. "The Democrats love to spend money and they have to get it from the taxpayers," said one poll respondent, a retired Republican who lives on Nassau County's South Shore.

School costs - the biggest part of property tax bills - were also on the minds of Long Islanders who cited "the quality of public schools" among their top concerns. "The first thing I would do is eliminate tenure for teachers in public schools to cut costs," said another poll respondent, a 50-year-old Garden City man who is a Republican and who did not want to give his name. Although he was happy that his two children attending local schools got a good education there, he said his family's property tax bill has been overwhelming.

Property taxes hit a chord with all respondents, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, location or party affiliation. In addition to identifying the most important issue, the poll underlined the intensity of Long Islanders' general feelings about property taxes, with 86 percent calling the issue "very important" and 11 percent as "somewhat important." Crime, schools, good jobs and health care also received strong reactions, with traffic congestion and the local environment getting milder reactions.