Eliot Spitzer spoke about his his efforts to control rising property taxes, a major issue affecting local governments, at the Association of Towns annual meeting at the Hilton in Midtown this morning.
From the podium the governor said, "This year, we will continue with Medicaid cuts. We will continue to control our own spending, but property taxes must be addressed.
"And let me tell you something. We have tried many different ways to address the problem.
"A S.T.A.R. program, which is in this year’s budget, put at least $4.7 billion back into the pockets of the taxpayers. You know what? It doesn’t do any good if we give the taxpayers $4.7 billion that immediately gets taxed away by school taxes and county taxes. That’s a transfer, not a tax cut. It doesn’t work.
"We have tried, by increasing our education allocation, to say to the school districts: ‘We are now giving you more money than ever before, therefore, you don’t need to increase your property tax rates, your property tax increases by the same rate.’ But you know what? That didn’t work.”
According to Spitzer, what will work is a cap on property taxes. The cap is being studied by a commission he created, led by the governor’s one-time rival (but now “good friend’) Tom Suozzi.