Commission recommends cap for state property taxes

CHENANGO COUNTY – Among the recommendations released Tuesday in the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief’s preliminary report was a property tax cap, which would limit the increase in the annual property tax levy to 4 percent or 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. While limiting the increase in annual property taxes may seem like a good idea, reactions in Chenango County and throughout New York State have been mixed, with some asking what effect the tax cap could have on the educational system.

In January, then Governor Eliot Spitzer established the Commission on Property Tax Relief to identify possible solutions to the state’s increasing property tax burden. Tuesday, the commission released its preliminary report, citing both the problems and their recommendations.

“New York State has the highest local taxes of any large state in America – 79 percent above the national average,” the report states. According to the report, the reasons for New York’s high taxes are due in part to high expenses and a low percentage of state aid compared to the national average. New York schools’ per student spending is more than 50 percent above the national average, and while the state spends more than the national average on public education, their contributions still account for only 43 percent of the total cost – an amount lower than the national average of 47 percent.

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