TaxNightmare.org End the property tax nightmare!

September 24, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:03 pm

 

SO NOW WE HAVE A LT. GOVERNOR….

 

Let’s hope he isn’t going to be just another mouth to feed.

From Lt. Gov. Ravitch’s curriculum vitae I have hopes that he will be a reasonable voice for sane tax policy: including property tax relief and reform.

At any rate he’s off to a good start by declaring he doesn’t need lashing of underlings to do his job….just someone to answer the phone.

What a sterling example he is to the Albany people who need cohorts of aides –like Roman emperors-to prove how important they are…or to form an impenetrable barrier to the public…a first line of defense against the people who pay their salaries  (and health care and pensions…and per diems etc etc ad nauseum).

Meanwhile back in the legislature (How do you know if they’re back?? Simple, there are more cars in the parking lot.) some “public servants” are calling for the STAR rebate-a mangy doggy program if ever there was one- to be re-instated…at a cost of about a billion and a half.*

Anyone who knows the value of relief and reform- and isn’t just blowing smoke-knows that the same amount of money could have been put into the tight, targeted, League of Women Voters supported Omnibus Solution  and actually would have made a big difference to homeowners all over the state.

That’s what we are fighting for….not some FrankenSTAR pyramid scheme. No junk, guys!! No cheap knock-offs…just the real thing, Omnibus prop. tax reform.

C’mon guys. The courts will force you to step up to the reform plate eventually.

 (Interesting cases in Sullivan and Ulster Counties are  just the first of many such challenges.)

Try not to look too much like doofuses…or in the case of some legislative czars, like solipsistic (different from auto-erotic  but only slightly) obstructionists….people are clinging to the edge.

Offer a helping hand; don’t step on their fingers- as you have been doing.

* Just heard from Bill Hecht (Cayuga Tax Reform) that to administer this useless rebate program costs 2.7 million! Boy, Albany really knows how to waste our money.   10/1/09

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:59 pm

NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF…..sept.22

The numbers below show how bad and skewed the property tax situation is in NYS. It shows how careless and callous Albany has been in shoveling the cost of its responsibilities for basic services on to the homes of New York citizens and off its own considerably more ample and flexible revenues from all other sources.

WHILE I AM VERY PROUD OF THE FACT that New Yorkers enjoy many more services and have a higher quality of civic life than if they lived in states that are tax havens for the rich – I am ashamed that this is IN SPITE OF Albany’s governance of the state .

Tragically -Albany battens on its enormous revenues and leaves the funding of services like education and health care and security for retirees largely on the backs of property owners.

Property taxes are based on some bureaucratic decision about the value inherent in homes and are completely and chaotically divorced from family income.

Below is only a part of the story….. The dismal numbers….The real story is the pain and devastation and stress caused by property taxes. It’s an ugly story!

 

Top 10 Counties in Median Real Estate Taxes Paid, 2008

County

State

Median Real Estate Taxes Paid

Westchester

New York

$8,890

Nassau

New York

$8,628

Hunterdon

New Jersey

$8,492

Bergen

New Jersey

$8,446

Rockland

New York

$8,430

Essex

New Jersey

$7,924

Somerset

New Jersey

$7,743

Morris

New Jersey

$7,557

Passaic

New Jersey

$7,370

Putnam

New York

$7,324

Source: 2008 American Community Survey

Table 2
Top 10 Counties in Median Real Estate Taxes Divided by Median Home Value, 2008

County

State

Median Real Estate Taxes as a Percentage of Median Home Value

Niagara

New York

2.89%

Monroe

New York

2.85%

Wayne

New York

2.82%

Chautauqua

New York

2.60%

Cayuga

New York

2.54%

Cattaraugus

New York

2.52%

Onondaga

New York

2.51%

Erie

New York

2.48%

Oswego

New York

2.42%

Chemung

New York

2.38%

Source: 2008 American Community Survey, Tax Foundation calculations

 

As for the percentage-of-home-value measure, counties in upstate New York still dominate as they tend to impose high property taxes on homeowners, albeit in a location with lower home values and thereby higher effective tax rates.

 

September 20, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:26 pm

DID OBAMA SAY THAT TO PATERSON OR DIDN’T HE???

…and what the hell does it matter to Eileen who could lose her home in the near future if SOMEBODY doesn’t act-and quickly?????

Eileen and a lot of good, hardworking people just like her- who thought their paid for family homes were safe from insane taxation (no other word so aptly fits the property tax) -don’t have the luxury to speculate about who will be governor in a year.

By that time they could be homeless.

Eileen’s story is below. If it doesn’t break your heart and make you work harder for property tax reform, then you’re probably a politician who is beyond redemption.

Be angry guys…be very, very angry…..

I have written before about my tax nightmare. I took care of my mom for 3 years after she had a massive stroke. I was unable to work because my mom needed 24 hour care. I went through all my savings and took out a home equity loan and paid my bills with the equity loan just to be able to live. I did have income from another house on my property. My sisters lived in the other house and I received income from that but, after my savings was gone, my income was not enough. Now I am in a jam because, I fell behind on the property taxes. My 2 houses are on separate deeds so I receive 2 tax bills for each house. My mom has since passed and and every job interview I have gone on are all negative. I’m 57 years old and have a very low income. I sold one of the houses to pay off the home equity and 6200 dollars for current taxes on the other house. I owed 12,000 dollars in back taxes so the county put me on a 2 yr contract and that is 584.06 a month for 2 years but, than you have to be current with new taxes or the county takes possession of your house. I  now have a school tax bill for approximate 3500 due by November 6th and I’m deathly afraid I will lose my house. I do not have a mortgage on this house and this is where I live now.So,  if I cannot come up with the money, the county will take possession of my home. I think in these terrible economic times and How I know there are more and more people that are losing their homes that are in my same situation. There needs to be something done immediately for all the poor people that have lost their homes because of a bad economy. I think someone needs to bring this to president O’bama’s attention. All I ever hear about is how terrible the mortgage company’s have been but, our government is taking away peoples homes for owing 2 yrs in taxes even if you own the property and do not have a mortgage. I think they give you 30 days to pay all of the back property taxes after that, the county auctions your house and they keep the profit. It feels like stealing to me. We need to change the 2 year contract. If you owe 2 years of property taxes,  the dept of finance will put you on a contract to pay the back taxes in 2 yrs BUT, you have to be pay your current taxes. The trouble is many of us cannot do that. They can easily change this contract to a 5 year contract to be paid on a monthly basis. After the bad economic times we have had, it will take 5 years to get back on your feet. There is also penalties added on . By the time you are finished paying the contract you are paying 12 percent in interest over the 2 year period. I owed approximately 12,000 with added interest and penalty’s and by the time I’m finished paying I will have paid over 14,000 dollars for the back taxes. I just want someone who reads this to speak up about immediate tax reform. We cannot wait another minute. I wish President O’Bama somehow gets to read this so he is aware of what is going on in our little county’s. We need property tax reform. Thank you

Sincerely,

Eileen Jacobsen

September 17, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:07 pm

OMNIBUS CONSORTIUM GETTING READY TO CLOSE THE DEAL……..9/17/09

Yesterday the Omnibus Consortium for Property Tax Relief and Reform conferenced  (okay so it’s not a word..don’t be picky…)  on closing the deal with Albany.

We need property tax reform or we need a lot of tent cities in NYS to accommodate the folks driven out of their homes by the property tax scourge.

I prefer reform.

We need our Omnibus bills passed now.

We need the governor to put the funds-a ludicrously small  amount compared to the need– in the state budget in January.

***********************************************

We need you to call Gov. Paterson (518-474-8390) so we have back-up when we descend on Albany and tell them to close the deal on property tax reform. Kawo Kudi guys!!!!*

**************************************

I have- in all the entries in this Taxnightmare blog- tried to convey the sense of urgency in the Consortium’s work.

With increased school costs , increased pension costs, increased Medicaid costs, and increased wasteful  spending on the part of careless legislators on the county and state levels, we can expect a tsunami of property tax increases which will finally overwhelm all your financial defenses.

At this time there are no protections in place against confiscatory prop. taxes. (Have I mentioned this before??)

The Omnibus Consortium members (led by our coordinator, Ron Deutsch) discussed our plans to meet with the people who create this state budget and close the deal…..

Once the money is in place, the passage of our bills –S4239A and its companion in the Assembly A8702 –are good to go.

This process of changing the way we tax people to fund necessary services has been hard and slow….but deliberate and intensely fought  .

Those of us at the front have been focused and relentless….there is NO other viable way to force intelligent change in a democracy…

Democracy is messy, often frustrating, always a challenge….the alternatives to democracy are much worse.

If we allow ourselves to flag in this marathon-at the 24th hour- people will lose their homes and families will suffer terribly.

That is unacceptable.

Okay…forgive the rhetoric but stay on this struggle with everything you’ve got.

We will be having meetings in Albany after October 13th when  we finish forums around the state.

More on that later.

Call the governor asap. Tell him you support the work of the Consortium and want money for our bills put into his January budget.

The Omnibus Consortium has been characterized recently as a “powerful group” working for property tax reform. We are only as powerful as your support makes us. ( No kidding.)

Call the Governor…please.

 * Bring the money..close the deal!!!

 

September 12, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:42 pm

KAWO KUDI, ALBANY…….

That’s from the Hausa language and it says literally, “Bring the Money.”…but it really signals that the haggling is over and the deal has to be made or it’s quits….

Hausa traders have infinite patience but they also know when they’re being jerked around and when the deal needs to be made …..or else they fold their wares and pack their camels (or jeeps) and head into the sunset….

….. and let me say that you don’t jerk a Hausa trader around with impunity…..at some point there’s a reckoning.

 

Well kids, I’m at that point with Albany…..and let me say that you don’t jerk tax reformers around for five years-and in some cases more- without a day of reckoning.

This ‘special’ session in Albany has begun with the usual dismal results already in evidence.

No deal on ethics reform; the matter of the appointment of a Lt. Governor in the courts; and I haven’t seen any urgency on the #1 issue of property tax reform.

The state government has reneged on obeying the court order to fund education in a constitutional manner-providing a sound, basic education for each child…

…and people got a nasty surprise when they opened their school tax bills…Rick Karlin explained why in an excellent exposition of yet another duplicitous move by Albany…they lowered your STAR exemption because your property was worth less…so your taxes went up!!

As Gene P- who is usually very eloquent and fluent in the language- famously replied to this story of the latest stab in the homeowner’s back, “No shit, Dick Tracy!”

Typically for Gene, you’ll notice, the comma is in place.

I could write a tome on Albany’s disregard of basic human decency when dealing with property taxpayers but I’m so used to it, all one needs to say is, “No shit, Dick Tracy!” No surprises there.

No surprise that a perfectly good idea of acknowledging that the power to tax is the power to destroy and protecting all religions from being discriminated against has been perverted by Albany into a vote getting wholesale distribution of tax exemptions to exclusionary communities living off the fat of the land at the expense of their neighbors and their neighbor’  farms and businesses.

No surprise that Albany has passed along its responsibilities- like Medicaid and education which should come from its coffers- to householders struggling to survive.

No surprise that the property tax which has some validity if properly and fairly administered (which it isn’t) in supporting some limited local costs (instead of EVERYTHING Albany doesn’t want to pay for) has grown like a giant malignancy until is consuming our homes and family stability.

No surprise that Albany doesn’t even pretend to function as a deliberative body and just pads its own nest at the expense of the taxpayers.

No surprise that county politicians  are now emulating Albany (so they’ll fit right in when they get there) by spending hundreds of thousands of your hard earned dollars to decorate their offices while  people are losing jobs and the money could have prevented hundreds of foreclosures.

I hear your weary response to this well known catalogue of disgraceful deeds…”No shit, Dick Tracy!”

 

What is a surprise is the fact that the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Consortium is preparing to meet with “public servants” in Albany in the near future to give them one last chance at redemption…this session….

Pass the Omnibus Relief and Reform bills, Albany!

KAWO KUDI!

9/12/2009

September 10, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 5:23 pm

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September 6, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:22 pm

UP UP AND AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Some samples:..and this was a GOOD year…. with stimulus money for every district…

The 2009-10 tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value are as follows.

• *Esopus: *$14.69 for homes, up $1.04, or 7.69 percent, from $13.65 in
2008-09; and $19.89 for businesses, up $1.54, or 8.39 percent, from
$18.35 in 2008-09.

• *Hurley: *$15.33 for homes, up 70 cents, or 4.79 percent, from $14.63
in 2008-09; and $21.19 for businesses, up 74 cents, or 3.62 percent,
from $20.45 in 2008-09.

• *City of Kingston:* $14.57 for homes, up $1.06, or 7.84 percent, from
$13.51 in 2008-09; and $20.84 for businesses, up $1.57, or 8.15 percent,
from $19.27 in 2008-09.

• *Town of Kingston:* $18.37 for homes, up $1.26, or 7.36 percent, from
$17.11 in 2008-09; and $24.91 for businesses, up $1.76, or 7.6 percent,
from $23.15 in 2008-09.

• *Marbletown:* $15.11 for homes, up 57 cents, or 3.92 percent, from
$14.54 in 2008-09; and $20.70 for businesses, up 93 cents, or 4.7
percent, from $19.77 in 2008-09.

• *New Paltz: *$14.46 for homes, up 61 cents, or 4.4 percent, from
$13.85 in 2008-09; and $23.50 for businesses, down $5.80, or 19.74
percent, from $29.28 in 2008-09.

• *Saugerties: *$18.79 for homes, up 43 cents, or 2.34 percent, from
$18.36 in 2008-09; and $25.23 for businesses, up 72 cents, or 3.02
percent, from $24.49 in 2008-09.

• *Town of Ulster: *$21.20 for homes, up $1.71, or 8.77 percent, from
$19.49 in 2008-09; and $29.71 for businesses, up $2.43, or 8.9 percent,
from $27.28 in 2008-09.

• *Woodstock:* $17.59 for homes, up $1.30, or 7.98 percent, from $16.29
in 2008-09; and $24.01 for businesses, up $1.86, or 8.34 percent, from
$22.15 in 2008-09.

..and furthermore…

 

     Every 5-10 years the sales tax is increased by one percent in NYS counties. It enables counties to avoid the hard choices of cutting services, programs and staff. It also enables counties to keep their property tax levy under the 2% total assessment constitutional limit.

     There is no limit on the sales tax. There ought to be. At the next constitutional convention it should be a priority.

     The state mandates programs to local government and avoids the responsibility of taxing to obtain revenue to fund these mandates. Instead, the state legislature gives local government the authority to raise the sales tax, and then rubber stamps all the county sales tax increase requests.

    This has to stop.

     It is a green light for taxing and spending ad infinitum.

     As government grows year after year, private enterprise is reduced to subsidies (IDA,Empire Zone, etc) to survive.

     And government grows.

 

Gene P.

 

MOREOVER…

At the turkey farm in Albany (where they gobble up money) the Dems have magnanimously given their GOP counterparts 3 million bucks for HIRING MORE STAFF.

“Isn’t that nice”, said an acquaintance, “because when the GOP was in the majority (Senate) they didn’t give the Dems anything for staff raises”.

DUH!!!! NOBODY SHOULD HAVE ANY MONEY FOR STAFF RAISES OR ANY RAISES FOR ANYBODY IN ALBANY GOVERNMENT BECAUSE WE ARE IN AN EMERGENCY AND PEOPLE ARE GOING CRAZY FROM PROPERTY TAXES….AND THE NEXT TURKEY WHO TELLS ME ALBANY HAS NO MONEY FOR TAX REFORM ^**+@##*&++<>!!

…AND THE MOST TRAGIC PART…

All around the country…and New York is NO exception…more and more children are starting school HOMELESS…..

SO LISTEN UP ALBANY…YOU SAY YOU HAVE NO MONEY TO RESOLVE THE DEVASTATING PROPERTY TAX CRISIS WHICH IS RESULTING IN A DOUBLING OF FORECLOSURES AROUND THE STATE.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE MONEY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT AND SERVICES TO THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES THAT ARE HOMELESS BECAUSE OF THE ADDED AND CRUSHING BURDEN OF EXORBITANT PROPERTY TAXES?????….oh right, you’ll offload onto county property taxes thereby compounding the problem.

..OR MAYBE YOU INTEND TO GO ALONG AS BEFORE…SCARFING UP MONEY FOR YOUR OWN PERKS… AND HANDING OUT EXTENSIVE GIFTS OF TAX EXEMPTIONS TO EVERY SANCTIFIED AND BLESSED HOLY (PROFIT TAKING) ACRE YOU CAN FIND (in order to secure votes from the blessed ones)…WHILE THE NEIGHBORS OF THESE ‘HOLY’ ACRES EAT THE INCREASED PROPERTY TAXES.

MAYBE YOU FIGURE YOU CAN BUY YOUR WAY INTO HEAVEN…like you buy your way into office..

AS IF!!!!!!!!

Happy Labor Day Albany….enjoy your job…while you still have one.

 

September 2, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:42 pm

 

 

VOICES FROM THE TRENCHES…….

 

 

Don’t hold back Gene…let us know how you really feel J

 

 

Cortland County is going to the dogs. We are short at least $1 million in estimated sales tax revenue this year, and must contribute a 75% increase in pension money to the state for 2010, then 50% more pension contribution in 2011. Our chairman is talking about a 1% sales tax increase and a “large” property tax increase for 2010. (Add more gas to the fire, we didn’t add enough last year.) He barely mentions cuts in personnel or programs. We are supposed to be working with an austerity budget but these myopic government at-any-cost people keep spending and hiring. I’ll bet they don’t balance their household budgets with as much abandon as they balance the public budget. The county is also foreclosing on more tax delinquent property than at any time in the past twenty years.

This year our property taxes increased by 15%. I wouldn’t be surprised if these county reps do it again for 2010. North Carolina is looking better and better. It’s amazing how much apathy we have in this county. Most people here are like cows, part of the dairy herd, munching grass with heads lowered. We called a taxpayer meeting in June to discuss next year’s county budget and only 12 people showed up. There are 40,000 people in this county. Most moo and pay taxes while county legislators steal their milk and get reelected.

Why am I taking about milk and cows and taxes? It’s apple picking time. Crunch!

Gene

 

…..and a hard truth from Bill in Cayuga

This is your bill – Only as long as you pay your property taxes.
Remember – YOU NEVER OWN YOUR HOME. You only own it as long as you continue paying your “rent” to your local government.
That rent is called TAXES. Even if you have no mortgage you still have to pay it.

…ALBANY STRIKES AGAIN…

……..and to add insult to injury, it has been reported to me that the NYS Senate spent 29.2 million bucks on staff from the beginning of April until mid August……..and that’s pretty much the same as usual no matter who’s in charge…

…and what do you want to bet that they will try to cut everything but their own luxurious habits when they return…and your property taxes will be made to take up the slack…

ONE MORE CHANCE BOYS & GALS OF THE ALBANY HOUSE OF HORRORS…PROPERTY TAX REFORM OR AN ELECTORAL STAKE THROUGH THE HEART…

 

September 1, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:07 pm

 

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

THE SCREAMS HEARD AROUND THE STATE…

…AS PEOPLE OPENED UP THEIR SCHOOL TAX BILLS…AND ALBANY CONTINUED ON ITS PERPETUAL VACATION….some thoughts for you from the tax reform frontlines…

This is your bill –with an increase as usual-even though the assessment may have been reduced.

This is your bill even though each district received stimulus money from the federal government.

What happens next year without stimulus money and when the pension losses come due?

This is your bill even if you lost your job.

This is what you owe because your “public servants” in  Albany   are     burdensome dependents  whom  you support in the lap of luxury while you live in want……a drag on your life….a danger to your family home and your stability…

We will try one more time…this session…to get protection for you so you never have to open another property tax bill and stare disaster in the face…

This is your bill…and I’m sorry.

We won’t give up.

 

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