STATE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS
6:53 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Cuomo Campaigns Locally for Property Tax Reform

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a last-minute campaign push in East Syracuse Tuesday, advocating for a property tax freeze plan that could benefit many Upstate home owners.  He’s been touring the state leading up to the April 1 budget deadline, encouraging residents and supporters to pressure state legislators to approve his proposal.  

From left, DeWitt Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko, Manlius resident Chris Haywood, Governor Cuomo, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, and county legislator Danny Liedka in East Syracuse Tuesday
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
 Opposition has grown against Cuomo’s plan among lawmakers like Republican Senator John Defrancisco, and local government leaders like Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (Dem.)  It would incentivize municipalities to consolidate or combine operations in exchange for sending tax rebate checks to that community’s homeowners.  Cuomo says families have had to tighten their belts, and now it’s time for government to do the same: 
Governor Cuomo spells out his point that local municipalities and governments must commit to reducing bureaucracy in their counties to help lower property taxes.

Cuomo was joined today by supporters of his plan, including Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  She says it’s another step in the right direction, since people and businesses are leaving Upstate New York in favor of other states with lower property taxes.  Mahoney says local governments have to do more:

Governor Cuomo's property tax cut initiative's logo
Credit cutpropertytaxes.ny.gov
County Executive Joanie Mahoney uses Onondaga County as an example of one county in New York with entirely too many local governments.

But some disagree.  Opponents like Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins say Cuomo’s plan is a top-down, “one size fits all” approach that leaves local governments little say over decisions regarding municipal and school budgets and property tax levies. Hawkins points to the individual fiscal needs and specific circumstances for each locality that could get glossed over if the state were to influence the consolidation process.