One week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his executive budget, Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-138th/Lewiston, is renewing his call for mandate relief to be tied to a property-tax cap in order to ensure that Western New York residents receive real tax relief. Neither proposal was included in the governor's proposed spending plan issued on Feb. 1.
"Sky-high property taxes are a major drain on families' incomes and have forced many fixed-income seniors to move out of their homes. A property-tax cap is a first step toward providing relief to Western New York taxpayers and over the long-term will lead to significantly lower taxes," said Ceretto. "However, a property-tax cap must be accompanied by mandate relief for schools and local governments. Unfunded state mandates are the root cause of high property taxes and must be addressed before Albany bankrupts local governments, school districts, and the taxpayers who will be forced to bail them out."
In 2010, the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research institute, determined that Niagara County was the second-highest property-taxed county in the United States as a percentage of home value. On March 1, the governor's Mandate Relief Task Force will offer its recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate unfunded state mandates.
"Painful cuts are going to be made in this year's budget, cuts that will prove disastrous to Niagara County homeowners if state government does not reduce unfunded state mandates and cap property taxes," said Ceretto. "Albany has forced upstate homeowners to shoulder its irresponsible spending habits for far too long. Taxpayers have had enough. They want relief and deserve to have it in 2011."