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Cuomo pushes property-tax plan in DeWitt

By Eric Reinhardt


DeWITT — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 25 outlined his proposal to cut property taxes during a visit to the DeWitt Community Room.

Cuomo also encouraged local governments to reduce their costs during his presentation in the facility at 148 Sanders Creek Parkway near Carrier Circle.

Cuomo’s appeared in DeWitt as talks on the state-budget proposal continue in Albany. The next spending plan is due April 1.

“We’re literally down to the final moments,” Cuomo said during his comments.

As of press time, Cuomo and state lawmakers had not reached final agreement on a budget plan.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, DeWitt town supervisor Edward Michalenko, Onondaga County Legislator Daniel Liedka, and Chris Haywood, a property owner from the town of Manlius, joined Cuomo for his presentation.

“I believe the issue we’re talking about today is the most important issue that is in the budget,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo’s plan would freeze property taxes for two years in communities where the local government also takes steps to consolidate and share services, and would provide relief based on an individual homeowner’s ability to pay.

About 207,000 Central New York homeowners could benefit during the second year of Cuomo’s freeze proposal, with total savings of as much as $44 million and an average benefit of $215, according to Cuomo’s office.

Under the circuit-breaker proposal, about 129,000 households will qualify for an average real-property, personal income-tax credit of $375, totaling $48 million in savings to Central New York residents, the office added.

The “burden” of increased property taxes year after year has “started to take its toll,” Haywood said during his remarks.

And having “little to no control” over his property-tax bill is what he called the “most frustrating part.”

“This year, I will pay about $8,500 in property taxes. For me, that means I pay [about] 11 percent of my annual salary in property taxes. That on top of what we pay to various local government and administrative districts that have sprouted up around our community,” Haywood said.

Haywood sees the property-tax proposal as “great news.”

“The hundreds of dollars in savings that we would receive under this plan could be put toward the cost of continued education for my family,” he added.

Haywood, a father of four, has one child attending college.

Cuomo’s office also released a statement on March 26 indicating more than 260 local elected officials across New York support his plan.

Upstate New York has 13 of the nation’s 15 highest taxed counties by percentage of home value, Cuomo said in his remarks during the DeWitt event.

“Why are the property taxes so high? Because we spend a lot and because we have a lot of government,” he added.

New York has 10,500 local governments statewide, Cuomo said. That means 10,500 offices with light switches resulting in a costly “bureaucracy” of local offices, he added.

Onondaga County has 941 local governments, according to a slide graphic that accompanied the governor’s remarks.

“Each one is a bureaucracy unto itself,” Cuomo said.

He added that New York needs to get the cost of local government “under control” to curb property taxes in order to “get this state’s economy running the way we need to.”

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