Sayward calls for lawmakers to pass tax cap

A North Country lawmaker wants the state Legislature to pass Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed tax cap bill.

Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward criticized Democrats in her chamber for "killing" the legislation earlier this week. The Republican controlled Senate has already passed the bill, which aims to cap local property tax growth at 2 percent.

Senate Republicans say they won't take part in negotiations aimed at weakening the bill. Cuomo, however, has indicated that he's open to talks with Assembly Democrats, who want to increase the tax cap to 4 percent and add certain exemptions to the measure.

Sayward says North Country residents already can't afford to pay their property tax bills. She adds that businesses don't feel comfortable opening their doors in New York state.

"Jobs are setting up shop elsewhere, leaving New York for greener pastures," Sayward said.

"Capping property taxes and eliminating unfunded mandates must remain our top priority as we move forward with session," she added.

According to Sayward, a 2009 report that measured property taxes as a percentage of home value showed that nine of the top 10 counties in the nation were located in upstate New York.

When local taxes are compared to personal income, New York has the highest levels in the country, Sayward says.

She also points to a Siena poll released this week that shows property taxes are the top concern among New York residents.

Sayward says she's anxiously waiting a property tax cap bill to go to a vote in the Assembly.

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