Legislators continue to make progress on the 2014-15 state budget, and appear to be moving toward enacting the state’s fourth consecutive on-time budget.


A group of local government associations, which include the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), the State School Boards Association, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and the Association of Towns have come out against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed property tax freeze.  Under the Governor’s plan, homeowners would receive an income tax rebate check for the amount of increase in their property tax bill if a taxing entity keeps its annual tax increase at or below the state’s real property tax cap (2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less). In the second year of the freeze, the taxing entity would have to stay within the cap and also come up with a plan to achieve structural savings.


The local government associations called the Governor’s proposal “flawed.”  They are instead pushing for their “Clean & Simple” plan, which would keep local property taxes flat by giving local governments the amount of their tax increase.  It is an interesting proposal and one that we expect will gain more traction over the coming days.


In other state budget news:


  • Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) and other elected officials are calling for a $50 million increase in state support for local roads and bridges in the next state budget, and also for creation of a multi-year, $200-million dedicated state fund to undertake locally designated bridge and culvert improvement projects statewide.


  • New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness are running a radio campaign criticizing Governor Cuomo’s proposed tax cuts plans.  They argue that Gov. Cuomo is benefitting the super wealthy, while harming working families. The group is part of a progressive coalition that is trying to organize around the idea that New York State “leads the nation in income inequality.”


Of course their message couldn’t be more wrong.  This budget doesn’t benefit the super wealthy.  In fact, it actually helps our family owned farms and our small businesses by relaxing the negative impact of New York’s Estate Tax.  It reform also helps the average New York resident, people like you and me, that have been good stewards of our personal finances.  If the combination of your salary, your home, life insurance, and retirement exceeds $1M, then the Estate Tax hits your “estate”. So we must keep the Governor’s proposal in the budget.


The Senate and Assembly are finalizing their respective one-house budget bills; they may be available as soon as this weekend. Both houses are expected to approve their respective budgets by next Wednesday, which will be followed by a conference committee process.