Gov Cuomo To Air Tv Ads For Ny Property Tax Freeze

03.03.14 | Bob Price

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hit the airwaves this week to promote his property-tax freeze.

Cuomo plans to appear in a television ad across the state to push lawmakers to support his proposal that would freeze property taxes for two years if local governments and schools stay under the tax cap and move to streamline services.

“My plan will cut property taxes by requiring local governments to work together. Please tell your legislator to support my plan,” Cuomo says, according to the transcript obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “And let’s keep building a new New York together.”

Cuomo’s campaign committee will fund the ad, which will have upstate and downstate versions. He had $33 million in his coffers in January, and he plans to seek a second term in November.

The property-tax plan is a hallmark of Cuomo’s agenda this year. He said New York can’t thrive by having among the highest property taxes in the nation. He started a website last week to promote the tax freeze.

Westchester County pays the highest property taxes in the nation, and many upstate counties, including Monroe and Wayne, pay the highest taxes compared to home values in the country.

Cuomo’s proposal has faced increasing criticism from lawmakers and special-interest groups in advance of the state’s fiscal year that starts April 1. They have claimed that local governments and schools would be hard pressed to meet the requirements of Cuomo’s plan.

Under the tax freeze, the freeze’s rebate would come as a check in the fall to homeowners in communities that stay within the tax cap. The amount would be the difference between keeping property taxes flat and the increase under the cap.

In year two, local governments and schools would need to abide by the cap and have a plan to cut the tax levy by 1 percent by 2017.

The average rebate would be $200 upstate and $580 in the New York City suburbs. In Westchester County, the rebate check would average at least $800. About 2.8 million households would get a check and limited to households with incomes less than $500,000.

Senate Republican leaders told Gannett last week that they have concerns about year two of the initiative. They said it could lead to cuts in services and programs.

Cuomo on Friday dismissed the criticism. He said New York needs to press local governments to cut costs, saying New York has 10,500 taxing entities.

He said state lawmakers should consider the health of the state and not pressure from local leaders who don’t want to agree to his plan.

“I get the political pressure on the legislator, but the legislator represents the people, not the local politicians,” Cuomo said in a radio interview.