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For Release — Jan. 14, 2010

Business Council says property taxes killing jobs in New York

ALBANY— Despite a deep recession and falling property values in many places, New Yorkers paid $2.5 billion more in property taxes in 2009 than in 2008, according to an analysis by the Public Policy Institute, the research affiliate of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. Property owners in New York State paid a staggering $46 billion in property taxes in 2009. Businesses paid 40 percent of the amount collected last year, or $18.5 billion, making the property tax, which is paid to local governments for basic services, the largest non-federal tax by far on private sector employers.

"As they debate ways to reduce the state's budget deficit, Albany lawmakers must pause to recognize that New Yorkers are already struggling to pay a $46 billion property tax bill at the local level," said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council. "They have to understand that this is by far the biggest tax in the state, it's simply overwhelming and they must do something about it," he added.

"The property tax levy is so huge it is killing jobs and economic recovery before the budget hearings in the Capitol even get started," said Adams. "New taxes from Albany are simply out of the question," he added. “To create jobs businesses need property tax relief just like homeowners. That is why the state must enact a property tax cap that covers all properties and not just a “circuit-breaker” that will provide relief to homeowners and shift more of the burden to business property.”

In New York City, residential and commercial property owners together shelled out $16 billion in property taxes. Across the rest of the state, local governments collected $30 billion for schools, health care, public safety, libraries and other services from local property owners. In comparison, California taxpayers paid roughly the same amount, despite the fact that the California levy is spread among a population of 37 million people rather than New York's 19.5 million people.

"Off-the-charts property taxes in New York are an anchor on economic growth and job creation," concluded Adams. "The governor and legislative leaders must approve a property tax cap and reduce Albany mandates that drive up the cost of local government services."

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