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Giving the tax cap teeth alongside taxpayer relief

Cuomo pitches two-year property taxes freeze, local leaders plan to stay within cap

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces details Monday, Jan. 6, of a $2 billion tax relief proposal developed through work of the state Tax Reform and Fairness Commission and the state Tax Relief Commission.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces details Monday, Jan. 6, of a $2 billion tax relief proposal developed through work of the state Tax Reform and Fairness Commission and the state Tax Relief Commission.

— Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said Cuomo is “putting the pressure on” local governments to stay within the cap. McCoy said the tax cap has made county officials “look at things differently” and “think outside of the box.”

This was the first year the county passed a budget within the tax cap, while local towns have been adhering to the requirement.

Guilderland Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the town has “never had any inability to meet the tax cap,” but the relief proposal could spur other municipalities skirting the imposed limit.

“This may be a method to get those municipalities that are not able to meet the tax cap a greater incentive to do so,” Runion said. “The impact is going to be more with the school district, because we have always been below the tax cap in the entire time I have been town supervisor.”

Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson also believes the town will not have a problem staying within the tax cap.

“We have always been within the cap,” Clarkson said.

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said staying within the cap has been a challenge, but the town has not exceeded it since implementation.

“We will endeavor to abide by the tax cap for the next two years and explore opportunities for the consolidation of services,” Mahan said. “As we move forward, it will be important to recognize the need for mandate relief for all local governments.”

Runion also said further state mandate relief is needed to help local leaders adhere to the cap.

“Part of the problem with meeting the tax cap is the mandates,” Runion said. “Those are the things that are really driving local budgets, and I don’t know whether they have done a really close analysis of those costs and what is being passed down to us.”

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