Budget Breaks

The Story

Next year’s New York State budget is the usual stew of pork and off-line spending disguised as fiscal restraint. But amid its thousands of pages of appropriations and non-budgetary legislative actions, there is one bright spot: the 2% cap on property taxes has been made permanent for local jurisdictions (except New York City) across the state. Taxpayers get some relief, but localities still face the burden of mandates that Albany forces them to implement.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Property: The 2% property-tax cap has saved New Yorkers billions of dollars since its introduction. Read more.

  2. Spending: The governor’s self-imposed 2% spending cap—independent of the tax cap—won’t be strict enough to avoid deficits looming ahead. Read more

  3. Mandates: Unfunded state mandates—including prevailing-wage rules, the Taylor Law, and the Scaffold Law—impose large costs on public construction projects. Read more.

“Making the tax cap permanent—or harder to tamper with, at least—was a significant achievement for which the governor deserves all the credit he will claim.”

EJ McMahon, research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Albany Passes the Check By Edwin Rubenstein (Summer 1991)

“Why do local governments raise taxes so high, spend so much, and yet cut essential services? The answer may be: Albany makes them do it.”

And in other news...

“New York City closed a $173 million deal Thursday to buy 17 Bronx and Brooklyn apartment buildings, officials said, an agreement that is expected to benefit some homeless families but has been scrutinized over its cost.”