Despite their unhappiness with a new property tax cap forced upon them by the state, most localities in New York plan to stay within the limit as they write their budgets for the coming year, according to preliminary data compiled by the state comptroller and trumpeted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The Times-Union of Albany reports that about 85 percent of New York localities say they will adhere to the state's new cap, which was a centerpiece of Cuomo's campaign for governor and limits property tax increases to 2 percent a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Localities have the option of overriding the cap with a 60 percent vote.
Based on the early numbers received by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli — the vast majority of the state's more than 10,000 municipalities have not yet reported their budget intentions to the state — hundreds of localities believe they can abide by the cap. Cuomo's office says the numbers are encouraging.
"The point was that we wanted to create a mechanism to hold the line on skyrocketing property tax hikes and an environment where people were having these discussions with their local government officials and school districts," a Cuomo spokesman tells The Times-Union . "For now, it seems that municipalities are trying to fit under the cap."
But the next few weeks will provide a much clearer picture of how well the cap is working. The data compiled by the comptroller only show localities' intentions, not the way their actual budgets turned out. Many towns and municipalities will be finalizing their budgets during November, and, as The New York Times reports , local officials are pushing back against the limit, calling it unrealistic and unworkable.