As taxpayers across New York weigh the impact of their proposed school budgets, millions of us are left wondering when we'll finally see relief from our rising property tax bills.
The good news is that we're two-thirds of the way there. On Jan. 31, the Senate voted in support of Governor Cuomo's 2-percent tax cap bill in a bipartisan vote of 45-17. If enacted, the governor's proposal will force local governments and school districts to live within their means - a welcome change for the taxpayers who have experienced significant increases in their property taxes. We thank the governor and the members of the Senate for acting swiftly on this vital issue which impacts all New Yorkers.
Now for the bad news. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, sponsor of the bill, has not advanced the bill for an up-or-down vote by rank-and-file members.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and his 51-member conference have voiced their support for the governor's tax cap proposal and indicated that they would vote for it. On several occasions, Silver has stated his support for a property tax cap. Moreover, a significant number of Assembly Majority members from Long Island, New York City, Westchester, the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York have indicated their support for the cap.
So why are we waiting? We only need 25 additional Assembly members to pledge their support for the cap to ensure its passage. Until those members are allowed to take action, the bill will continue to collect dust. While the exact reasons for this delay are unknown, one thing is clear: New York's taxpayers want the cap and they want it now.
Recent polls from the Siena Research Institute and Quinnipiac University Polling Institute have shown that more than three-quarters of those surveyed support the 2-percent property tax cap. Additionally, the surveys' participants signaled that the passage of a property tax cap should be a top legislative priority this year.