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State of New York November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Property Tax Cap

By John A. Gaetani

Candidate for Comptroller; State of New York

This information is provided by the candidate
Some candidates are in favor of a property tax cap or circuit breaker on property tax payments. I oppose both ideas because the problem with government is spending is too high which leads to higher taxes and fees. A cap or circuit breaker will not reduce taxes. It will just ensure that taxes go up every year by a maximum amount.
There are some candidates proposing property tax caps of 2% - 4% or the rate of inflation whichever is lower. Others are proposing a circuit breaker based on income of the tax payer that will cap the amount paid by the tax payer. Neither one of these ideas will work.

The reasons are the problem is not property taxes it is spending. A cap or a circuit breaker will do nothing to stop the growth of spending at all levels of government. On the local level and school districts, much of their spending is "mandated" by state and federal government. Still other costs are contractual and can not be reduced.

What has to be done is spending reductions. That means that "mandates" need to be eliminated. It also means that contracts need to be renegotiated to reduce costs. Furthermore, government operations and services need to be made more economical and efficient.

How are mandates going to be eliminated? Well one of the biggest mandates on county governments is their share of Medicaid that the state foisted on them in the nineties. Medicaid is supposed to be shared 50% by the federal government and 50% by the state. But in the nineties, the state wanting to cut its own spending mandated that the counties pick up half of the states share or 25% of the total cost of Medicaid. The state needs to go back to paying the whole 50% share. Not only that, the Medicaid benefits need to be trimmed to be more in line with other states because New York offers the most benefits coverage of any state in the country. All mandate relief will require legislative approval.

Contractual requirements will have be negotiated between the local governments and school districts and their employees and contractors. The operations of government can be made more efficient and economical with some ingenuity and some auditing but some of it might need to be done legislatively.

A cap or a circuit breaker are not the answers to the property tax crisis in New York. Either one will lead to higher taxes still and likely to higher and more "user fees". The only way to get property taxes under control is to lower government spending. Then property taxes can actually be reduced which will make New York a place where people and businesses will want to stay and relocate to. I have the plan to do all of that.

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ny/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 14, 2010 11:38
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