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North Country Assembly members comfortable with tax cap bill

Governor Andrew Cuomo saw one of his legislative goals for the current session take a huge step forward earlier this week, as lawmakers announced they were close to a deal on a property tax cap.

The state Senate passed tax cap legislation earlier this year - a bill that essentially mirrored Cuomo's proposal.

This week, the state Assembly got on board, unveiling their version of the bill - and lawmakers from the North Country are, for the most part, pleased with the legislation.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters in Lake Placid last week, Governor Cuomo hammered lawmakers - many from his own party - for not taking the tax cap seriously.

"This Legislature should listen to the people, not the lobbyists, and pass this agenda," he said. "Let's move this state forward."

Judging by the legislation rolled out earlier this week by the Assembly, that message is starting to hit home. The Assembly bill limits property tax growth to 2 percent annually, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. It also adds a few exceptions to Cuomo's proposal, specifically in the case of high pension costs, court judgments, and unforeseen increases to the local tax base.

Cuomo had previously said he wouldn't accept a bill that attempted to soften his proposal. He also panned the notion of signing legislation that linked his tax cap to other issues.

But the Assembly proposal does just that, linking the tax cap to a New York City rent control law. Policymakers say, however, that the bills were "evaluated separately," apparently satisfying Cuomo.

"This state is so diverse and has such diverse constituencies that we've got to look at it as a whole state. That's not always easy, it's not always our preference, but it's the reality of the world we live in, work in, and pass legislation in."

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