Tax cap will be 2% next year

Property tax levy growth for local towns, counties and fire districts whose fiscal years end Dec. 31 will be capped at 2% for the 2020 fiscal year, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Thursday.

This figure will affect calculations local officials make when assembling their budgets for next year.

The state tax cap limits how much cities, towns, counties, school districts, villages and fire districts can increase their tax levy, or the amount of taxes they collect.

The tax cap, which first applied to local governments in 2012, limits tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or 2% with some exceptions, including a provision that allows municipalities to override the tax cap.

During the 2014 through 2018 fiscal years, municipalities with a fiscal year ending on Dec. 31 had their levy growth capped at less than 2%, according to the comptroller’s office.

The formula used to calculate specific local tax caps factors in the tax base growth factor, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements and funding reserves, among other things, which means the cap often varies dramatically between various school districts or municipalities. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Tupper Lake and Lake Placid central school districts each were allowed a tax cap of 2.1%, while the Saranac Lake school district had a cap of 5.58% and Keene Central’s was negative 4.28%.