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Mon January 17, 2011
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Onondaga County Executive Says Property Tax Cap Needs To Be Paired With Mandate Relief

Syracuse, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo has indicated he will soon propose legislation to cap local property taxes at the rate of inflation.

That seems like a popular move - providing some relief for taxpayers struggling to pay some of the highest property taxes in the country.

But, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says every single dollar Onondaga County receives from property taxes goes to the state, due to a series of programs for which counties are required to pay the state.

For that reason, she says a property tax cap needs to be paired with a measure to relieve counties from some of those mandates.

She says it's easy to win approval for plans to cap taxes, but not so easy to get lawmakers to make that plan feasible.

"If you just let politicians off the hook with a simple vote on reducing taxes," says Mahoney, "they'll do that all day, every day."

"But," she says, "when you ask them to reduce the spending that's causing the taxes, they have so far shown a complete unwillingness to do that."

So, she says she has been a proponent of tying the two - capping property taxes and reducing spending - together.

Mahoney says she's waiting to hear the governor's plan, but she says she reminds state officials of the need for spending cuts to match the proposed tax cap every chance she gets.