Let’s clear the air on the debate about property tax relief.  To me, when elected officials talk about relieving some of our property tax concerns, they should be talking about long-term solutions.  Not simply relief for a year, but something that will last for many years.

Yet, members of the Senate and Assembly Majority want you to believe that they are working hard to give you some relief on your taxes.  How are they doing that?  By adding back more than $400M in education spending and telling certain districts that all or part of it needs to get returned to you… the property tax payer.  Yes, that’s right.  They want to add to state spending so that SOME of us can get a rebate check right around election time.  Not all of us… but some of us.  How generous!

The rationale for such a move?  Since most districts have already passed their school budget they are planning on not having the money this year.  They have either cut their budgets or are dipping into reserve funds.  So the state will reinstate some of the education cuts and potentially direct it to you and me.

Friends, I hope you can see what this really is.  It is absolute hogwash and politics at its best.  They are trying to conjure up some good will with the constituents by telling them we got some relief on property taxes.  And that relief will come right before we head to the polls to cast our votes.  How convenient!

Let’s not be fooled by words.  We cannot and should not accept one-time political shenanigans as property tax relief.  If our elected officials were serious, they would have advanced our plan to cap annual increases and remove all unfunded mandates.  At the very least, Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should have accepted the Governor’s budget plan that included a cap.  But they didn’t.  And what they don’t want to tell you is that in their revenue plan is more than $1B in new taxes and fees to cover the increase in spending… the rebate checks.

This fall, don’t be fooled.  If for some reason you do get a “relief” check, remember that the check is covered by more than a billion dollars in new taxes/fees and hidden borrowing (on top of the $8B we got last year).  Don’t believe the words of justification that come from your elected official.  And remember, only in New York could property tax relief be justified by a tax increase.

Judgment Day for the New York State Legislature is coming. The clock is ticking… 124 days and counting.