While the passage of the governor's bill continues to be delayed in the Assembly, here are some facts for consideration:
If a 2-percent tax cap had been enacted before the passage of 2010-11 school budgets, New York's taxpayers would have saved approximately $276 million;
Property owners in New York State paid $48 billion in property taxes in 2010;
In 2009, New York's median property tax was $3,755 - nearly double the national average; in 2009, businesses across the state paid $21.9 billion in property taxes. This amount represents 39 percent of the business community's total tax burden.
As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, 17 Upstate counties experienced a loss in population over the last decade. During that same period, more than one million New Yorkers left the state in search of better economic opportunities. Families and businesses simply cannot thrive under the weight of the second-highest cumulative tax burden in the nation. This trend must be reversed and the implementation of a 2-percent property tax cap would be a tremendous step forward. Massachusetts enacted a 2 and a half percent tax cap in 1980 when its state and local tax burden was the third-highest in country and has since dropped to 33rd. Our neighbors to the east are living proof that a property tax cap can work.
Our ever-rising real property taxes are holding back New York's economic recovery. The Assembly Majority must seize the opportunity to help shape the future of our state. If Speaker Silver and members of his conference were truly genuine when they expressed their support for a property tax cap, now is the perfect time to put those words into action.
Brian Sampson is the Executive Director, Unshackle Upstate
Mike Durant, is statewide director for the National Federation of Independent Business
Bill Mooney is president of the Westchester County Association.