ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WIVB) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to drum up support for his proposals to cut property taxes for residents in municipalities that meet spending targets he set.
The so-called “No Excuses” campaign announced Wednesday includes a new website, statements by some officials in support and links for contacting individual state legislators.
“Property taxes. We capped them, now it’s time to cut them. Lower our property taxes, lower our taxes, lower our property taxes,” Cuomo said.
The governor proposes a two-year freeze on property taxes if local governments stay within a 2 percent tax-cap the first year and develop a consolidation plan with other local governments in the second year.
“We’re saying to the local governments, you have to find a way to work amongst yourselves so we get the cost down,” Cuomo said.
Of all 50 states, New York has the highest property taxes, with the average bill totaling more than $5,000 per year. The Cuomo administration projects the program will cost $1 billion and save 2.8 million homeowners an average of $354 on their property taxes.
Cuomo specifically pointed to Erie County, arguing there are too many taxpayer-funded entities – more than a thousand. That’s the most of any county statewide. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told News 4 there are too many local governments in the county, and they need to downsize and share services.
County lawmaker Kevin Hardwick agreed, saying things like water and garbage services could be consolidated among towns, villages and the county. But he feels when it comes to police and fire services, those should remain separate.
A coalition of groups came out against the plan Monday, saying it amounts to a tax break to the wealthiest homeowners at the expense of the needy.