New York is not known as a tax friendly state. The Empire State’s high tax rates have received national attention as they have forced an exodus of people leaving New York in search of lower tax states. Although New Yorkers continue to struggle under the weight of that state’s tax burden, they did receive a recent victory when their legislature made property tax caps permanent.
In 2011 the New York legislature enacted a temporary property tax cap which limited the growth of local government property taxes to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever was less. The property tax cap also contained an override mechanism: local school districts could exceed the cap if at least 60 percent of voters approved and counties and cities could override the cap by a 60 percent vote of the governing body.
Now that those protections are permanently in place, New Yorkers can count on that needed protection in controlling the growth of property taxes. “Over the past seven years, New York’s cap on local property tax levies has generated billions of dollars in savings for homeowners and businesses, compared to previous trends. The cap has been especially effective in restraining school property taxes, which have long been the largest and fastest-growing component of New York’s tax burden, wrote E. J. McMahon, who serves as Research Director for the Empire Center for Public Policy.
In addition to a reasonable growth limit, greater transparency is always a victory for property taxpayers and Utah’s Truth in Taxation process is a good example. In Utah if a local government proposes budget that increase property taxes on its citizens, the Truth in Taxation process is triggered, requiring an extensive public notification and hearing process. Truth in Taxation has benefited taxpayers in Utah by providing more accountability, oversight, and transparency.
Taxpayers in New York and Utah are benefactors of sound local government policy that requires additional input and transparency when tax bills are going up.