January 01, 1900

NYS AFL-CIO: Property tax cap will greatly reduce New Yorkers' quality of life

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, reminds New Yorkers today that the property tax cap under consideration at the Capitol will cause real damage to municipalities across the state.

"From the start, no one has stated how much New Yorkers can expect to gain as a result of a property tax cap. Specifics have not been provided on how much more money individuals and families will see in their pockets if a property tax cap becomes law. And no one has discussed how much of a windfall commercial real estate expects to reap as a result of a property tax cap.

The reason would seem to be that no one really knows the answers to those questions.

Well, here's what we do know: New Yorkers who rely on county, city and school district services can expect to see a quick and dramatic loss of vital assistance, along with drastic increases in user fees. Clearly, we know this will force cuts in education, leading to layoffs, larger class sizes and a reduction of services to the most vulnerable students.

The following services will most likely be greatly curtailed as a result of a Tax Cap:

  • School District, Academic, Operational and Programmatic Education Cuts
  • County Health Care and Nursing Homes
  • Municipal Waste and Garbage Disposal
  • Water and Sewer Services
  • Public Safety Protections: Police; Fire; and Emergency Response
  • Libraries
  • Parks
  • Local Road Maintenance and Snow Removal
  • Veterans Programs
  • Senior Citizen Programs
  • Day Care
  • Proper Zoning and Code Enforcement
  • Environmental Services
  • Issuance of Permits
  • Youth Employment Programs

Is this a fair trade off? Is this the kind of state we want live in? Do we want state government to take away decision making authority from local government and voters in those communities? These are the choices we are asking New Yorkers to make. There is no real guarantee of savings, but a very real promise that our police and fire protection will suffer; that our roads will go unplowed and our sewers will be backed up; that our children won't have day care and our seniors won't have necessary programs available to them.

The real question to be answered is this: Is the vast reduction in quality of life resulting from these dramatic cuts worth a tax cap that doesn't guarantee a tangible savings to New Yorkers?"