Report: Cap has saved NYers $16.7B in school taxes

New Yorkers have saved at least $16.7 billion in school property taxes since the 2011 implementation of the property tax cap, according to a recent analysis by the Rockefeller Institute.

The average school tax increase for the Capital Region was about 6.25 percent from 2004 to 2007 and 2.63 percent during the Great Recession period from about 2008 to 2011. After the implementation of the tax cap, the average increase was 1.97 percent for 2012 to 2018.

The average figures statewide are 6.6 percent for the pre-recession period, 3.1 percent from 2008 to 2011 and 1.9 percent from 2012 to date.

Much of the dollar savings has come from the lower Hudson and Long Island regions, whose average school property tax increases before the recession were 7.6 percent and 6.8 percent, according to the study.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will not sign a budget unless it contains a permanent implementation of the cap, which has been extended multiple times. The Senate has passed the bill, but the Rockefeller Institute said the Assembly has not committed and “has signaled its desire to use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations over housing regulation legislation, or to first loosen the cap to allow greater tax increases.”

Gun storage law

Assemblyman Dan Stec voted against a bill that he said would have put more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.

The legislation would require safe storage of guns in households with children and people prohibited from possessing a gun by federal or state law, according to a news release. The law would also require the guns to be stored even if the children do not reside there but are present in the homes.

“This legislation unnecessarily puts more restrictions on gun owners and is unenforceable by law enforcement,” Stec, R-Queensbury, said in a news release.

Infrastructure spending

Stec attended a rally on Wednesday to express support for increasing funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program and restoring the $65 million in the Extreme Weather Fund.

“Crumbling roads and bridges can be found all over New York. Harsh winters and outdated and aging infrastructure have left many regions in dire need of repairs,” Stec said in a news release.

GOP amendments rejected

State Senate GOP officials are criticizing the Democrats’ rejection of amendments to provide relief from election mandates for local governments and to prevent people with business before the state from donating to campaigns for a period of time.

Republicans proposed an early voting fund to cover costs associated with expanded voting hours. In previous years, $8 million was dedicated toward the effort, according to a news release.

Another amendment offered by Republicans to legislation the Assembly is reviewing would extend the proposed ban on businesses making campaign donations to state office holders for the six months around the contribution time. The amendment would cover local offices as well as state offices.

Smoking raise the age

The Assembly on Wednesday passed legislation to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21.

“By raising the purchasing age to 21, we can remove tobacco and other addictive products from our schools and improve health outcomes by stopping smoking before it starts,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a news release.

Election reforms

The House of Representatives last week passed a series of election law changes, including making Election Day a federal holiday, expanding early voting and allowing same-day registration.

House Resolution 1 would also restore voting rights to people who have served felony sentences and provide a matching campaign donation system of providing $6 of public money for every $1 a congressional or presidential candidates raises. It would also require political action committees to disclose donors of over $10,000, prohibit aggressive purges of voter registrations to remove names, end partisan drawing of district lines and prohibit lawmakers from using public funds to settle sexual harassment or discrimination cases, according to a news release form the Working Families Party, which supports the issue. The bill would also require presidential candidates to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

The resolution now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate.