13 Central New York Leaders Join County Executive in Endorsing Governor's Bold Proposal to Empower Voters to Reduce Property Taxes
Governor Cuomo Will Match Savings Achieved By Local Governments in the First Year
New Initiative Builds on Success of Governor Cuomo's 2 Percent Property Tax Cap and Property Tax Freeze – Saving New Yorkers $17 Billion Through 2016
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney today endorsed Governor Cuomo's plan to reduce property taxes by empowering voters to approve locally-designed plans that deliver shared, coordinated services and lower the cost of local government. The Governor’s groundbreaking proposal would require county executives to convene local government to meetings to develop shared service plans that reduce duplicative spending and find real, recurring property tax savings.
"Property taxes remain one of the most burdensome taxes in New York, and by challenging local governments to work together to streamline services and lower taxes, this groundbreaking initiative will empower voters and reduce taxes in Central New York and across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "I look forward to partnering with these Central New York leaders to develop plans to reduce inefficiencies and provide real savings to property taxpayers."
The Governor’s proposal empowers municipalities to develop plans that eliminate duplicative services, lower the costs of local governments, and ease the burden on taxpayers. Plans should enhance purchasing power, such as jointly purchasing and coordinating the use of expensive transportation or emergency equipment. The Governor has also committed to match savings achieved by local governments in the first year. These shared service plans will not impact AIM funding included in the FY 2018 Executive Budget for towns, villages and cities.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “Governor Cuomo has made reducing the property tax a priority since he took office, and his shared services proposal is a promising new opportunity to continue the progress we have made together. By empowering local leaders, the Governor has called on municipalities to come together and find ways to streamline government and reduce costs. I look forward to meeting with local governments across the county to have an open dialogue about ways to relieve the burden of property taxes for Onondaga County residents.”
The following Central New York local leaders joined County Executive Mahoney in endorsing the Governor's bold proposal to reduce property taxes and the cost of local government.
- Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker
- Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner
- Cayuga County Legislature Chairman Keith Batman
- Cortland County Legislature Chairman Donnell Boyden
- Oswego County Legislature Minority Leader Frank Castiglia
- Oswego County Legislator Daniel Farfaglia
- City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin
- City of Oneida Mayor Leo Matzke
- City of Oswego Mayor William Barlow
- Village of Canastota Mayor Carla DeShaw
- Village of Wampsville Mayor John Clute
- Village of Solvay Mayor Ron Benedetti
- Town of Oswego Supervisor Richard Kaulfuss
Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker said, "Madison County supports the concept of Governor’s State Budget proposal on consolidation. We have been consolidating as many services as possible over the years; in the last few years alone we have consolidated six county departments and have plans for more. In addition, our towns have been sharing equipment and resources for decades. Madison County would like to focus future consolidations in areas such as regional courts and establishing a municipal county-wide health insurance pool, which are currently not permitted by state statute. We hope with the Governor’s initiative, we will be able to make those things happen."
Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said, “Fiscal responsibility is one of the essential pillars of governing, and this proposal will ensure that we find every opportunity to cut costs and serve our residents better. Governor Cuomo’s plan is an innovative way to lower the burden of property taxes on Oswego County home- and business-owners and empower voters to have a say in how their government functions. I look forward to working together to find real savings for taxpayers.”
Cortland County Legislature Chairman Donnell Boyden said, "I welcome the Governor’s shared services proposal and look forward to working together with my colleagues across the county to come up with a thorough plan to reduce costs and lower our property taxes. In Cortland County, we have taken important steps to find efficiencies and eliminate redundancies. But as the Governor has said, we can do more. By empowering local leaders, the Governor’s proposal paves a path forward for Cortland County to build on the progress we have made to find savings for our residents."
Cayuga County Legislature Chairman Keith Batman said, “Governor Cuomo’s proposal is an important one to stimulate a much-needed conversation about collaboration and cooperation focused on streamlining services and reducing inefficiencies. Action begins with thought and discussion, and this is an important step toward the action that is needed to ensure that we serve our communities in the most efficient way possible.”
Plans will be developed by county executives working together with local government:
- County executive convenes one or more meetings to obtain suggestions and hear comments on county shared service plan.
- Cities, towns and villages must provide plans to the counties.
- County executive submits his or her shared services plan to the legislature for comments.
- County executive shared services plan is then submitted to voters for their action in a referendum at the general election in November of 2017.
- If the plan is rejected, the county executive would prepare a new plan for submission to the electorate for a second vote in November of 2018.
Reducing New York’s burdensome property taxes has been a priority of Governor Cuomo and his administration, leading to actions such as the Property Tax Cap and Property Tax Freeze, saving taxpayers more than $17 billion through 2016.
Mandate Relief for New York Municipalities
Since 2011, Governor Cuomo has held state spending growth below 1.4 percent, the lowest spending of any Governor since before Nelson Rockefeller. Outstanding debt has also been lowered for the past four years, and the Governor has continued to provide significant mandate relief for counties, towns, villages and cities across the state. These efforts include:
- Saving local governments $3.2 billion in 2018 by capping the cost of Medicaid growth;
- Reforming the state’s pension system to save the State and local governments more than $80 billion over the next 30 years;
- Requiring arbitration panels consider a municipality's ability to pay certain local contracts;
- Authorizing local shared services, like allowing up to three school districts with fewer than 1,000 students each to share a school superintendent; and
- Providing local governments with expanded procurement options, such as the authority to "piggyback" on Federal General Services Administration contracts and county public works contracts as a way to reduce costs for local governments.
The Property Tax Burden in New York
Included in Governor Cuomo's FY 2018 Executive Budget, the shared services proposal will build on mandate relief and local government efficiency programs recently established by the Governor, including the Municipal Restructuring Fund and the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition. The property tax is the largest tax burden for New Yorkers across the state, with the typical taxpayer paying 2.5 times more in property taxes than in income taxes. Westchester, Nassau and Rockland rank among the five highest counties in the nation for the cost of property taxes, and in terms of property taxes paid as a share of home value, 13 of the 15 highest-taxed counties are in New York, primarily upstate, with Wayne, Monroe and Cattaraugus among the highest in the country.
Though property taxes are controlled by local governments, the Governor has made it a priority to help reduce the burden property taxes for all New Yorkers. The Property Tax Cap is at the center of these efforts, and aided by more than $100 million in State efficiency programs, it has driven local governments to control costs and save the typical homeowner $2,100 through 2016. When combined with the Property Tax Freeze, the Property Tax Cap has saved taxpayers more than $17 billion through 2016.
This initiative builds on local government efficiency programs established earlier by Governor Cuomo, including the Citizens Re-Organization and Empowerment Grant and the Citizens Empowerment Tax Credit. Together they aim to not only empower citizens, but also to give local governments the tools they need to remain compliant with the Property Tax Cap.