2009-05-01 / Top Stories

Paterson Takes First Step In Property Tax Relief

Governor David A. Paterson has taken the first step towards providing real property tax relief to New Yorkers by issuing Executive Order No. 17, which establishes measures to evaluate costs of mandates on local governments.

The Executive Order, signed by Governor Paterson on Monday, represents the first step in a broad mandate relief agenda that he will push during the current legislative session. It will ensure an increased flow of information in an effort to make better decisions about the impacts of proposed legislation and regulations on property taxes for New Yorkers.

The Executive Order applies only to regulation and legislation from the Executive Chamber or State agencies.

"It's time to put the brakes on the spiraling cost of property taxes by taking a close look at unfunded mandates that are handed down from the State to local governments, and in turn drive up the cost of property taxes for New Yorkers across the State," said Governor Paterson. "This Executive Order will provide us with more detailed fiscal information about the effects of proposed legislation and regulations. By having more detailed information earlier in the process, we will be able to better evaluate possible costs associated with regulations and our own program and departmental bills to ensure that we are making responsible and cost effective decisions for the residents of our State."

The Executive Order establishes guidelines for State agencies including submitting a full accounting of the fiscal impacts of proposed legislation earlier in the process of developing bills, requires a local fiscal impact statement to accompany legislation sent to the legislature, and requires agency review of existing regulations to determine potential ways to reduce the fiscal impact of existing mandates on local governments by December 1, 2009. Some of this information is already required under current rules.

In December 2008, the New York State Commission of Property Tax Relief, chaired by Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, submitted a final report to the Governor. One of the Commission's core recommendations was reducing the burden of excessive mandates. Governor Paterson's Executive Order aims to fulfill one aspect of that recommendation by providing a complete accounting of the fiscal impact that mandates have on local governments.

Paterson said that New Yorkers are burdened with the highest local taxes in the nation - 78 percent above the national average, with property tax levies rising at more than twice the rate of inflation and salary growth.

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