Property taxes

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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax commission is recommending a $2 billion package that includes a temporary freeze on property taxes, and a cut in corporate taxes to a 40 year low.  

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.

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.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

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.

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.

New York’s budget could have a surplus within a few years, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which has prompted him to look at ways to cut taxes.

Cuomo credits on time budgets, controlled taxes and a rebounding economy for the positive budget news. That’s why the governor formed a commission this week to look at ways to cut taxes by $2-3 billion.

“I think we can do even more,” he said in Syracuse Thursday.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

Syracuse Common Councilors have agreed to begin foreclosure proceedings on more than two dozen addition tax delinquent properties, that will be turned over to the land bank. This is the third round of foreclosure decisions by lawmakers in the last month. But, there is an end game in sight.

Syracuse Common Councilors started the process of turning over tax-delinquent properties to the new Land Bank of Syracuse and Onondaga County on Monday, beginning a new era as the city tries to get rid of many dilapidated or abandoned properties that have been a blight on some neighborhoods, and a burden for tax collectors.

Assembly passes caps to lower taxes on farmers

Jun 19, 2013

The New York State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that will cap agricultural land assessment increases at two percent a year.

Previously, agricultural property tax assessments were capped at 10 percent. But in just 15 years, property taxes doubled for family farms.

Farmers' property taxes rise as land values increase

May 23, 2013
Joanna Richards

Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. All this week, the Innovation Trail team is reporting on some of the current challenges and opportunities facing upstate farmers.

One of those challenges is property taxes. Agriculture is a land-intensive industry, so rising property taxes can mean much higher costs for farmers. And taxes have been rising, thanks mostly to increases in the production value of farmland.

For the second time in less than two years, back taxes have been paid on the Hotel Syracuse, effectively scuttling plans for the city of Syracuse to take control of the property, and sell it to a developer. So, city officials are now looking at a "Plan B."

Some rights reserved by Kake Pugh

The City of Rochester has been given state approval to establish one of the state’s ten Land Banks. The city’s Land Bank will support the acquisition of vacant, tax-delinquent properties which will then be  renovated and sold through the HOME Rochester program. The aim is to also get more properties back on the tax rolls.

Proposed state legislation would allow social services officials to withhold rent payments for low-income housing when the landlords haven’t paid their taxes.

Jinjian Liang / via Flickr

It began sending out foreclosure notices for the first time last month, but a long-term funding source for Syracuse and Onondaga County's newly formed land bank is just starting to come into focus; though some details remain to be worked out.

The Syracuse Common Council has proposed loaning the newly formed city-county land bank money so it can begin operating in earnest, but questions remain on the availability of those funds.

Some budget cuts approved for Oswego Fire Department

Nov 28, 2012

The Oswego City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve Mayor Thomas Gillen’s proposed budget. That will mean a property tax rate hike of about 11 percent.

der_krampus / via Flickr

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has notched another win in her efforts to get the city's major nonprofits to begin chipping in for the city services they use.

Jinjian Liang / Flickr

Newly formed "land banks" in upstate New York are moving forward, despite uncertainties on just how they'll work - or be funded. The quasi-public entity in Syracuse recently presented a plan to the city to begin foreclosing on its approximately 3,900 vacant and tax delinquent properties, but there are still unanswered questions.

Destiny USA

Syracuse's threat of legal action against the Destiny USA mega-mall has prompted a matching threat from the mall's developer.

The dispute involves whether the developer owes the city a $2.2 million dollar payment because of delays in the of the construction of the mall.

In 2002, Destiny USA struck a deal with the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA). The arrangement allows the mall developer to make 30 years worth of payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT).

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some of upstate New York's mayors are putting their brains together to deal with looming fiscal nightmares.

Cameron Group, LLC.

Those for it say it has little resemblance to Destiny USA other than the length of the tax break. But those in opposition disagree strongly.

Months of debate about Syracuse's development strategy and negotiations culminated Monday with the city granting just its second-ever 30-year property tax exemption.

The recipient is a developer who will build a mixed-use off-campus bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University. The property in question is a long sliver of land currently owned by the nonprofit university, so it's not taxable.

Cameron Group, LLC

Syracuse appears ready to give out its second 30-year tax exemption after months of debate. The decision comes at a time when many in the city are skeptical of public backing for development.

The Common Council has called a special session for later today to vote on the property tax exemption for a developer planning to build a Syracuse University bookstore and fitness center in the University Hill neighborhood.

The vote was supposed to happen back in March, but it was pulled at the last minute because it faced certain defeat. In the months since, councilors have negotiated with the developer and university.

On Friday, councilors confirmed the deal will finally proceed because it has gained the needed five votes.

Think your property taxes are too high?

Today's the day you can try to get those taxes down, by way of lowering what the town thinks your home is worth.

voxphoto / via Flickr

The city of Syracuse has a new tool it hopes will reduce the number of vacant and tax-delinquent properties.

This week the state gave the OK for Syracuse and Onondaga County to create one of the first five "land banks" in New York State.

The new agency has plenty to work on.

There are 3,300 delinquent plots in the city of Syracuse alone.

Satellite imagery / Google

Four major hospitals; three large colleges; dozens of churches, charities and government buildings.

They drive Syracuse's economic and cultural activity. But leave the city's bank account hurting for revenue.

In all, Syracuse nonprofits and other tax-exempt properties make up 56 percent of the city. That's land City Hall can't collect taxes on.

Add to that properties with temporary tax breaks given to encourage development.

Add to that more than 3,000 smaller plots throughout the city that are vacant or delinquent on their taxes.

"This is characteristic of the type of problem the city has in collecting property taxes," says Common Councilor Khalid Bey, chair of the council's economic development committee.

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