Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Dec. 17, 2010

Business Council says property tax cap needed to push fiscal reform

ALBANY— “Even before Andrew Cuomo takes office as Governor, the defenders of New York's unsustainable public spending levels are trying to derail his key fiscal reform agenda of a property tax cap,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Failing to enact a property tax cap and implement mandate relief to let local governments and school districts control and reduce their spending levels would be a disaster for New York's economy.”

“Groups tied to the teachers' and public employee unions are calling for a ‘circuit-breaker' rather than a tax cap. But, that would simply shift New York's unbearable property tax burden from some taxpayers to others,” added Adams. “It's a gimmick.”

The Business Council pointed out that in 2009 local governments and school districts collected a stunning $46 billion in property taxes from businesses and homeowners across the state. Outside New York City, businesses paid a full 40 percent of that tax levy. A “circuit-breaker” provides no relief to commercial property tax payers and does nothing to lower government spending.

New York's local taxes, primarily the property tax, are the highest in the nation -- fully 79 percent above the national average.

“Employers in New York, especially upstate, will not be able to add new jobs and create growth in our economy if they are saddled by unaffordable property tax bills for local government spending that continues to increase,” said Adams. “The experience of the STAR program shows what would happen with a ‘circuit-breaker' -- Some taxpayers would get relief, but spending would continue to grow faster than the rate of inflation. Other taxpayers, especially businesses, would see their tax burden spiral upward resulting in more lost jobs and squandered opportunity.”

“The non-partisan Tax Foundation already ranks New York's business tax climate as the worst in the nation. Shifting a greater tax burden onto business will kill jobs and further depress our economy,” said Adams. “We must control government costs and reduce state and local government spending to levels our economy can afford.”