New Yorkers desperately need property tax relief based on household income! Senator Krueger's bill (S4239) effectively caps each homeowner's or renter's school, town and county taxes based on their household income. Please support it and read the letter I sent below to Senator Krueger....
Thank you !!
8 Caldwell Circle,
Ticonderoga, NY 12883
April 22, 2009
New York State Senator Elizabeth Krueger,
Albany, New York 12247
Dear Senator Krueger,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing S4239 - the New York State Omnibus Property Tax Circuit Breaker!
My wife and I are retired. Our combined annuity incomes are around $66,000 a year. Our Ticonderoga property taxes consume $10,000 -- 15% of our entire income -- each and every year. Next year, our Ticonderoga school district is beginning construction that will significantly increase our school taxes for the next 20 years!
My wife and I are increasingly concerned that we will be unable to afford our home! Our other home costs have remained very stable, including a good 4 3/4% fixed mortgage -- but our property taxes have done nothing but go up and up!
Without S4239, property taxes will continue to bear no relationship to household income for middle income families. When a family retires, loses a job, or falls ill, they are left with less disposable income, at the very time when property taxes demand more of it! Their income taxes will drop with a reduced income, but not their property taxes!
We live in a society that does not tax expensive boats, cars, stock portfolios, and other purchases or investments -- except once, when they are bought (sales tax) or once, when they are sold (capital gains). By what moral right do we tax homes without limit -- each year -- forcing people to sell their very homes after decades of ownership! It destabilizes the very New York communities we live in!
Your bill - S4239 - will provide immediate property tax relief for tens of thousands of struggling retirees such as my wife and myself. I am especially pleased that your bill includes all ad valorem taxes, since our Ticonderoga town and county taxes have been as big as our school taxes. You may wish to point out to other legislators and constituents that your bill will provide insurance even for those who are not currently eligible for relief under S4239 -- in the event they lose a job, become ill, or retire themselves some day.
You may also wish to point out that homeowners and renters can easily accurately estimate the property tax refund they would receive each year from the state under S4239. This will enable them to reduce their income tax withholding during the year. Thus, even though they must initially pay their property taxes or rent locally, they can effectively receive an early reduction in their state income tax withholding.
I hope that you will find an ally for S4239 with my State Senator, Betty Little. She has proposed a similar property tax circuit breaker for years, as have Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and my Assemblywoman, Teresa Sayward. My thanks to all of you for your wonderful support for real, significant property tax relief.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you enact passage of S4239.
P.S. Folks in Ticonderoga are very pleased that our Ticonderoga Town Board spoke out to demand property tax reform over 3 1/2 years ago. Their unanimous October 13, 2005 petition to our legislature and governor can be read by visiting www.EyeOnTi.com. For your convenience, I've repeated it below.
PETITION TO NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE &
NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR PATAKI -- October 13, 2005
WHEREAS, we, the undersigned, are the duly elected town supervisor and the town board of the Town of Ticonderoga, New York. WHEREAS, over 450 Ticonderoga property owners have signed petitions demanding reforms in the New York State property tax system.
WHEREAS, these petitions cite, in part, that:
“We are dismayed by recent … increases in our property tax assessments. Many of us have already experienced significant property tax increases in recent years. Now, once again, we are faced with property tax increases in double digits…. Many of us are retired, unemployed, or on restricted income. Many of us cannot afford increases year after year in our property taxes. At least, with income taxes, a reduced income results in lower taxes. Not so with property taxes. Property taxes bear no relation to … income or ability to afford the tax…. More and more folks are being forced to consider selling their homes because of property taxes they cannot afford. This undermines the stability of our community and the ability of parents to afford to raise their families in Ticonderoga ….”
WHEREAS, these same Ticonderoga property owners have petitioned the Ticonderoga Town Board to “take all possible measures to curtail the unlimited growth of property taxes in Ticonderoga ”. The town board was requested by these petitions to take three specific actions:
“(1) Limit the town budget … as much as possible so as to hold down the amount of revenues that must be raised by the local property tax under the current tax system.”
“(2) Work with state representatives to INSIST on property tax reform at the state level, with the goal of reducing or eliminating the property tax as a source of revenue, especially for school funding. This could be accomplished by state funding of all school budgets, perhaps utilizing a dedicated income tax or sales tax surcharge.”
“(3) Insist that state representatives incorporate some type of circuit-breaker relief for the individual property tax payer. This could be in the form of a limit on an individual’s increase in taxable assessment or a limit on an individual’s tax liability based on his or her income. Such circuit breaker relief is employed in many states, including Vermont .”
WHEREAS, a blank copy of the petition is attached, and signed copies are available for review.
WHEREAS, in response to these petitions, the Ticonderoga Town Board has worked and will continue to work to hold down spending at the town level; and it has spoken at various meetings to various New York state legislators about the need for property tax reform at the state level.
WHEREAS, despite these efforts, all indications are that local property taxes will continue to grow at an unacceptable rate.
Now, THEREFORE, the Ticonderoga Town Board does subscribe to and put forward the following:
Urgent Call for the New York State Legislature to Enact a
New York State Property Taxpayers Bill of Rights
SPECIFICALLY, that a briefly stated Property Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights be crafted to encompass two simple promises from the New York State government: (1) that property taxpayers are entitled to uniform and fair property assessments, including periodic property assessment reviews at 100% of fair market value in each and every taxing jurisdiction within New York State, except as capped by new legislation; and (2) that no individual residential property owner shall be asked to pay a property tax on his or her primary residence that is in excess of a percentage of the taxpayer’s annual household income, without regard to the value or location of the home itself.
IN SUPPORT OF WHICH, the Ticonderoga Town Board does subscribe to and put forward the following:
Urgent Call for the New York State Legislature to Enact
New York State Property Tax Reform
NAMELY, that the State Legislature should enact meaningful property tax reform legislation that will:
(1) provide, for any New Yorker’s primary residence, a “ circuit-breaker” cap, limiting current property tax liability to a percentage of household income, without an eligibility restriction based on income or the value of the home;
(2) cap future runaway property tax growth by placing a cap on the annual increase in the taxable assessment of primary residences or in the property taxes themselves;
(3) reduce or eliminate unfunded state mandates that add to local town and school property tax burdens;
(4) provide for full state funding of all basic school revenue needs, thus reducing or eliminating the need for local school property taxes;
(5) require that, in the future, all state jurisdictions reassess all properties on a regular, scheduled basis at a uniform 100% of full market value;
(6) expand the possible sources of funding for schools or local government to include one or more new options such as a dedicated income or sales tax; and alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or similar taxes;
(7) assure that local businesses are not disadvantaged by these tax reform measures; and
(8) provide that tax reform measures include, first and foremost, the elderly and the disabled.
IN ADDITION, pending the enactment of legislation at the state level, the Ticonderoga Town Board does hereby announce that it will NOT renew the present agreement with New York State , known as the “Six-Year Maintenance Plan”, for the year 2006. In most cases, for current Ticonderoga homeowners, this will probably result in no increase in assessments next year. We will consider a revaluation when or if new conditions warrant.
In announcing this, the Ticonderoga Town Board is mindful of the fact that approximately 67% of all New York communities do NOT subscribe to a policy of annual full assessment review at 100% of value. This has caused considerable dissension between taxing jurisdictions and resentment by taxpayers.
AND FINALLY, the Town Board of Ticonderoga believes it appropriate to call for a full, 'zero-based' review of the way we fund local services in this state. We believe the inequities of the existing system arise from an over-reliance on an antiquated taxation system seriously out of synch with the economic changes in our society and the new forms of wealth they have spawned, many of which are far more reflective of one's ability to pay, and none of which are taxed annually as our homes are. And yet New York State Government forces local governments to tax their residents' homes annually, with the cost of services and rising land values and assessments increasingly driving people out of family homes they have occupied for generations. This is a moral and ethical failure that demands reform. Please enact the reform we need.
Approved unanimously by the entire Board of the Town of Ticonderoga, N. Y.
____________________________ Bob Dedrick, Town Supervisor Date:______________
____________________________ Dorcey Crammond Date:__________________
____________________________ Joe Michalak Date:__________________
____________________________ Bob Thatcher Date:__________________
____________________________ Wayne Taylor Date:__________________
[ end of text .... sorry we can't reproduce the signatures with the October 13, 2005 date. Copies of the signed petition are available in the Ticonderoga Community Building ]