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June 1, 2004

Council announces opposition to bill proposing additional property tax

The Business Council is opposing legislation, now under consideration in both houses of the state Legislature, which would allow towns to adopt real property transfer taxes of up to two percent to fund local open space projects.

"The high cost of housing is already having an adverse impact on economic development efforts in New York, especially downstate," said The Council's memo of opposition to the bill. This bill would authorize taxes that would increase the already high cost of 50 percent of all houses in these areas, the memo added.

In addition, the taxes would substantially increase the price of commercial and industrial property in New York State, the memo said. "Businesses are already paying nearly half of the existing $400 million state real property transfer tax burden. More than 30 counties, plus the cities of New York and Yonkers, impose additional, local real property transfer taxes, as well.

New York continues to invest significantly in open-space protection, and that the state's Environmental Protection Fund already gets about $67 million a year from the existing state real property transfer tax, the memo noted.

"Enacting a tax that would allow local municipalities to increase the cost of commercial and residential taxes would most definitely harm the state's economic health," said Elliott Shaw, The Council's director of government affairs. "It sends a message to businesses and individuals that New York is closed for business."

New York State already has the nation's heaviest combined state and local tax burden on a per-capita basis.