County Legislature Committee Updated on Tax Cap Plan

By Nicholas Cafalone, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – The county legislature’s Finance and Personnel Committee received an update Tuesday on the property tax cap bill that recently made its way to becoming law in New York.

New York State’s Senate and Assembly passed a bill June 24 that will cap property tax increases at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

“It is a 2 percent cap on growth, it doesn’t mean property taxes are capped; it means they can grow 2 percent a year at most,” explained Phillip Church, Oswego County Administrator.

The bill includes exemptions for litigation costs and a portion of pension cost growth, as well as an exemption for normal economic growth.

Not exempted in the bill were capitol costs for local governments other than school districts, any increase in welfare costs and any other major state mandate.

The property tax levy limit will be applied to taxes imposed on real property on behalf of a county, city, town, village, school district or special districts.

It also applies to taxes levied on water and sewer districts.

Counties will have to rely on data provided by NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and the State Comptroller’s Office to calculate their own levy limit.

According to Church, they will not be able to present a tentative budget until they calculate the variety of variables that go into the formula.

No time line has been given for when this information will be distributed.

The state cap will limit the tax levies of school districts and municipalities and therefore their budgets. However, if 60 percent of representatives in a local legislature or 60 percent of voters in a school district vote in support, they may exceed the tax levy cap.

The property tax cap does not enter into effect until fiscal year 2012.