Tax Committee Update
May 12, 2011

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

Taxpayer Advisory Committee

The Department of Tax and Finance held the first meeting of its business Taxpayer Advisory Committee (TAC) under new Commissioner Thomas Mattox on May 3. The Business Council and a number of Council members have a seat on the TAC. The agenda included:

The Department expressed interest in each of these recommendations; we are working with Department staff to identify specific next steps for each item, and to identify TAC members interested in working on specific projects. We will reach out to our Tax Committee members for input as well. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in any of these potential TAC projects.

The Department also reported that it has been meeting with the Division of Budget on tax issues for inclusion in the FY 2013 Executive Budget, including a version of the Department's draft Article 9A/Article 32 reform and integration bill (the most recent bill draft is available here and bill summary is available here.) The Department said they were hearing increased interest from some business interests in moving forward with this legislation, and that there was at least a “50/50 chance” they would formally proposed this legislation in the next Executive Budget.

“Excess Assessors”

As we continue to pursue improvements in the state's real property tax assessment practices, the state issued a report this week bolstering our arguments supporting reforms. State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli released a report this week illustrating the cost of the high number of local assessing units in New York State. His report found that the state could save more than $12 million a year by improving assessment procedures and consolidating local government assessment duties. The report found that in 2009, New York's city, county, town and village assessing units spent $132 million and employed 1,350 assessors, tax directors and assessment appraisers. The report found that most states have fewer than 100 assessing units and only seven have more than 500. New York has approximately 1,110. Of those, 981 are towns and cities and two are counties. The Business Council's Tax Committee is working on a number of RPT administrative reform proposals, including moving the state toward county level assessments and adoption of uniform assessment standards for local taxing jurisdictions. We believe this will not only reduce administrative costs, but will improve the quality and accuracy of assessments, and avoid significant over-assessment of business property.

If you are interested in our Tax Committee's efforts on real property tax administrative reforms, please give me a call at your convenience.