Both houses of the legislature are making changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax freeze plan in their budget proposals. And now small business groups are speaking out, saying the proposal favors some homeowners at their expense.
The state Assembly’s budget replaces Cuomo’s plan to distribute widespread rebate checks to homeowners with an alternative to benefit New Yorkers who can least afford to pay their property taxes. The Senate is also making changes, even though Republicans in the majority say they still want to reduce property taxes.
Education funding protesters outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Wednesday.
Credit Karen DeWitt/WRVO News
Assembly Democrats say there should be more money for schools and the environment, and major changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to freeze property taxes. It’s all part of a one-house budget resolution, the first step in reaching agreement on a final spending plan by the end of March.
The Syracuse Land Bank demolished it's first vacant home Monday.
Credit Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank/City of Syracuse
After a year on the job, the Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank has issued its first progress report, which notes that several steps have been taken to start reclaiming Syracuse neighborhoods from dilapidated and decaying homes.
First the numbers. The Syracuse Land Bank has acquired 165 properties across Syracuse over the past year. Twelve have been sold or have sales pending; 21 are currently for sale; 26 are slated for demolition; and 57 are vacant lots.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is starting a new push for his property tax freeze plan, while counties in the state say they have a better idea which could result in lower property taxes in New York for even longer.
Cuomo has begun a new campaign to promote his multi-part property tax freeze plan. It’s aimed at enlisting the aid of the public to help convince the legislature. A video features average homeowners and advocacy groups endorsing his plan.
“Lower our property taxes,” say various people identified as homeowners and standing in front of suburban looking homes.
NYCOM President and Minoa mayor Dick Donovan addresses the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany.
Credit Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail
Mayors from across the state have a bone to pick with the Cuomo administration. It is the governor’s proposal for a two percent tax freeze over two years. It would reward communities with property tax rebates if local governments implement austerity measures to keep their growth under the cap.
It sounds great on the surface, but according to the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany recently, looks can be deceiving.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax commissioner is set to testify before a legislative budget hearing Monday morning, and he’s expected to get plenty of questions about a plan to freeze property taxes and cut some income taxes. Critics, who are also scheduled to speak, say the governor should focus more on lower income New Yorkers, as well.
County legislators at the annual conference for the New York State Association of Counties.
Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) wrapped up its annual meeting in Albany this week where county executives discussed the unique needs of New York’s regional governments.
One prominent issue was consolidation. During his budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his push for local governments to share more resources as part of a plan to freeze property taxes if counties stay within a two percent cap.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces the voters in November, and his budget plan, with many of the major initiatives phased in over the next few years, can be viewed as a blueprint for the governor’s reelection.
Many of the major components in Cuomo’s budget -- including universal pre-kindergarten and business tax cuts -- take three to four years to be fully phased in. Even the property tax freeze is a multi-year proposal.
Implicit in the plan’s success is that Cuomo remains governor for the next few years to carry out all of the proposals.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his budget speech Tuesday.
Credit Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his state budget Tuesday. The $137.2 billion dollar spending plan includes more money for schools, including a phase in of funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs. It would also freeze property taxes for two years -- if local governments cooperate.
The governor’s budget, which includes a 3.1 percent increase in school aid, a two-year property tax freeze and phased-in business tax cuts, offers something for everyone in a year where Cuomo and all 213 members of the legislature are up for reelection.
CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson; MACNY president Randy Wolken; Dewitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko; Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon; and taxpayer Robert Delorenzo, of Clay, discuss Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax relief proposal.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
Central New York business leaders are very supportive about the latest tax reform plan coming out of Albany, and are lobbying for implementation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $2 billion tax relief proposal.
For CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson, January is usually a time he and other business leaders start playing defense; fending off budget proposals from Albany that include higher taxes and fees, and more government spending. But with the governor’s tax proposal on the table, it’s time to play offense.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany Wednesday
Credit Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered something for everyone in his fourth State of the State message, as he faces a re-election year. He outlined programs ranging from property tax cuts to an education bond act, to allowing medical marijuana.
Cuomo began his speech focusing on tax cuts and job creation. He highlighted a plan announced earlier in the week to cut the corporate tax rate, and property taxes , in a scheme that would hinge on local governments freezing spending, and consolidating.
“The highest property tax in the country is in Westchester County,” said Cuomo.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a key portion of his State of the State address early. He unveiled a plan to cut business taxes, and potentially freeze local property taxes for two years.
Surrounded by business leaders, Cuomo outlined a plan Monday that would cut business taxes, and result in property tax reductions for businesses and homeowners, if local governments and schools comply with a set of requirements in the next three years.
The new legislative session is just a few weeks away. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll still make anti-corruption measures a high priority as he did in 2013, but he’ll likely deal with economic issues, like proposed tax cuts, first.
Cuomo tried unsuccessfully to get the legislature to enact reforms to the state’s dysfunctional campaign finance system. When they adjourned for the year back in June without acting he created an anti-corruption commission, using his powers under the state’s Moreland Act, and asked them to report recommendations before the end of the year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director outlined more details of the governor’s tax commission's proposal to cut property and business taxes in the state.
Cuomo is under pressure from Republicans to cut income taxes, and from New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to raise income taxes on the rich. But he says the state, which already has a temporary income tax surcharge on the wealthy, needs to address its highest in the nation property taxes right now instead of personal income taxes, also known as the PIT.
New York state is ramping up its message to homeowners, urging them to reapply for the STAR Tax rebate if they haven’t done it yet. The deadline is the end of the month to get in on the tax break.
Looking at a map of the counties in New York state, Teresa Frank of the state’s Real Property Tax Services office, says a majority of homeowners in each county have reapplied for the property tax break, and there is a bit of a trend.
Divisions are forming in the upcoming debate over tax cuts that’s likely to dominate the new legislative session.
Business groups are largely supportive of the findings of a tax commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The commission recommends cuts to the corporate tax, faster phase out of an energy tax and easing of the estate tax. They also propose a reduction in property taxes by encouraging local governments and schools to cut spending and consolidate.
This house at 257 South Collingwood Ave. in Syracuse is the first the city's new land bank sold.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
With a wish of “good luck” to the new owners, the board of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank sold its first house Tuesday. The buyers of the vacant home on the 200 block of South Collingwood Ave. are Shaqir and Zahidi Halimi.
The Eastwood neighborhood home was delinquent on property taxes and seized by the land bank, one of the 88 it's taken control of so far. There are more than 3,000 vacant and delinquent properties in the city.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to study tax cuts has missed its December 6 deadline to report it’s findings, after facing controversy over former Gov. George Pataki’s desire to cut income taxes for all wage earners, including the wealthy.
Although the tax commission has now bogged down over co-chairman George Pataki’s push to lower income tax rates, its original charge was to look at ways to lower New York’s highest in the nation property taxes, as well as find ways to reduce business taxes.
A view of downtown Oswego from the Oswego River's east bank.
Credit mtneer_man / Flickr
Although Oswego's residents are facing a nearly 82 percent increase in their property taxes, the city's lawmakers say there isn't much fat left to cut from the proposed budget. They say the changing economic atmosphere in the city is weighing heavily on this year's budget.
The scrimping, saving and belt-tightening is paying off, as residents of Oswego County will only see a small increase of less than one percent in their property taxes for 2014. But what do the county's cost-saving measures mean for the average Oswego County homeowner?
The proposed tax rate would go up 16 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value, translating to about an extra $15 tacked onto a homeowner's bill. While the rate is the highest it's been in six years, it still keeps the rate lower than it was in 2005, by more than 20 percent.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, left, talks with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
More than a quarter of all property in New York state is off the tax rolls, according to figures compiled by the state comptroller, who said it's a burden on local finances.
The 27 percent of un-taxed land in the state adds up to $680 billion in property value not being collected on, which is mostly concentrated in urban areas. The city with the most property off-limits is Rensselaer, with 65 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be setting the stage for a tax cut next year. Recently, he’s appointed a new commission to look at cutting property and other taxes, and has said the state may have a budget surplus to pay for them.
The governor announced a new tax policy commission headed by former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, and former state Comptroller Carl McCall, a Democrat. Both are past political rivals of Cuomo.
Cuomo charged the new panel with finding a way to cut taxes.