What does tax cap and mandate relief mean for New Yorkers?
Albany, N.Y. – (06/30/11) – Last week, the New York State Legislature made history, passing a Property Tax Cap bill (S.5856) that includes much needed mandate relief for local schools and governments. Now that the legislation is on its way to becoming law, a lot of New Yorkers want to know what it means for them. Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), who has been fighting for a property tax cap since his days in the New York State Assembly, is taking the time to break down the legislation and ask New Yorkers for their input.
ON PROPERTY TAXES
The legislation will cap school and local government taxes to 2 percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. This tax cap levy applies to all local school districts except the “Big 5” (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers and NYC – they are funded through city budgets). There are exception to the 2 percent tax cap levy including:
- Pensions: If an employer contribution rate increases more than 2 percentage points, the excess amount is excluded from the cap.
- For example: If an employer contribution rate increases from 8.62% to 11.19% = .57% would be EXCLUDED from the cap
- Physical/Quantity Growth Change: If there positive change (new construction, new development) your levy limit will be allowed to grow.
- Tort Adjustments in excess of 5%: In the county is sued and liability must be paid.
- Capital Expenditures
The bill also gives school districts the opportunity to override the tax cap by holding a 60 percent majority vote.
“Sky high property taxes have made the American dream of homeownership a nightmare for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Ball. “I’m proud to say that nightmare, both throughout New York and in the Hudson Valley, will soon be over,” added Ball.
ON MANDATE RELIEF
The legislation also seeks to ease the burden on local governments and school districts, providing over $127 million in mandate relief savings in the following areas:
- $70 Million = Savings for school districts and governments through “piggybacking” and centralized contracts
- $34.6 Million = Savings for school districts
- Allow certain positions (superintendants) to administer more than one district.
- Allowing school districts to analyze and adjust school bus ridership.
- Allows school districts to provide regional transportation services with BOCES and other schools.
- Giving large school districts relief from auditing individual claims.
- School board census submissions every two years, instead of every year.
- $13 Million = Savings in transportation, housing, contracting, procurement and administration for all localities
- $7.9 Million = Social services savings for counties
- $1.15 Million = Criminal justice savings
The bill also calls for the creation of the Mandate Relief Council. The 11 member team, nominated by the Governor and Legislature, will determine if mandates are unsound, unduly burdensome or costly. The Council will also create procedures for repealing unfunded mandates.
“This is a good first step in the right direction,” said Senator Ball. “While I fought for nearly $300 million in unfunded mandate relief for this year, the $127 million in initial savings that the Assembly agreed to is a good faith is a step in the right direction for our local schools and local governments. People also have to understand that this legislation creates the framework for doing away with unfunded mandates comprehensively, and will hopefully do exactly that in the coming years,” added Ball.
Senator Ball is creating Mandate Relief Advisory Council, which will consist of leaders of local municipalities, school districts and other concerned residents. The Council, based in the 40th Senate District, will meet regularly to discuss concerns and ideas relating to mandate relief.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.