TaxNightmare.org End the property tax nightmare!

April 11, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:34 pm

Some notes from the front:

The fabulous grass roots property tax reform group in Marlboro wants you to mark your calendar…The citizen’s tax meeting will be held on….

Thurs., April 16th @ 7 P.M….The meeting will be at Annie’s

40 Western Ave., Marlboro NY.

 

From Bill in Cayuga:

  When I sit at MY HOME on a nice sunny day in spring it saddens me to think of all those losing theirs just because Albany continues to play childish political games.

They have lost touch with the common men and women of this state-their neighbors.

SAD……..but there is hope!

April 10, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:57 am

 

Isn’t it all about choices ??

You bet it is! 

In formulating a budget of more than 130 BILLION– give or take a billion or two- politicians in Albany constantly makes choices.

What is of value? What can be discarded?

Is it of value to stop family homes from being lost because of extortionate property taxes?

Apparently not in Albany!  It’s not a choice they have EVER bothered to make.

Real Property Tax Reform has been by-passed for years.

….and -once again- reform of the devastating property tax is not even mentioned in this year’s budget.

…..except to take away your property tax rebate and replace it with nothing .

The rebate money  will NOT be used for a better form of tax relief -the Omnibus Bill –the comprehensive solution our Omnibus Consortium has been championing.

Instead your rebate check will disappear into the vast political piggy bank called the general fund.

Politicians will continue parroting the phrase, “Albany can’t afford property tax reform” – in good years as well as bad-as long as we allow the lie to go unchallenged.

The truth is they don’t CHOOSE property tax reform. They choose something else on which to spend the billions available to them.

It has to be really hard for a salesperson –devastated by property taxes – to see a religious tax exemption card handed over in the  purchase of a Gucci bag or other similar luxury items… Not a rare occurrence from reports we get.

This kind of transaction is made possible by a choice Albany has made.  They choose not to notice that tax exemptions are abused and homeowners have to take up the slack.

But “Albany can’t afford property tax reform.”

Albany spends hundreds of millions on ‘member items’ which are bartered for votes.

But Albany can’t afford tax reform.

Albany buys itself all the trappings of power and rewards itself handsomely.

But Albany can’t afford property tax reform.

Albany can spend millions on window dressing:

·        Ballyhooed committees

·        Travelling circus commissions

·        Endless reports and findings

All purporting to address the terrible devastation to homeowners and renters from the property tax.

But Albany can’t afford property tax reform.

 

Albany can find hundreds of thousands to fight against a lawsuit designed to make them live up to their constitutional responsibility to fund an equal education for each child.

 They can resist complying with the resultant legal decision that orders them to fund a sound, basic education for each child.

They can continue to shift that illegal burden to homeowners.  They can ignore the law with impunity.

But they can’t afford tax reform. They can’t afford to comply with the law.

Albany makes choices .

Remember that fact if –once again this year-

they choose everything  BUT property tax reform.

 

  

April 7, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:59 pm

Ulster County gets the ball rolling!

Last night by a unanimous vote, Ulster County legislators made Ulster the first county to endorse the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Bill.

Every legislator signed on to sponsor the bill.

Ulster has a proud Tax Reform legacy, being the home of Assemblyman Cahill and Sen. Bonacic and  Ulster Legislator Susan Zimet, all of whom actively proposed and supported important property tax reform measures.

In addition Ulster is the cradle of two tax reform groups which later branched out to become state-wide organizations:

Taxnightmare.org  and  The Prop. Tax Reform Task Force (whose leader Carole Kraus is now head of the NYSPropertyTaxReformCoalition).

Both Taxnightmare.org and the NYS PTRCoalition are now represented on the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Consortium , the powerhouse that produced the intelligent, comprehensive Omnibus Bill  which is the best and only solution to the prop. tax crisis afflicting NYS.

Congratulations ULSTER!

 

 

April 5, 2009

The extraordinary worker..

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 8:44 pm

 

 

“I just want the ordinary working guy to have some hope….”

…said Tommy (Taxnightmare C.C.) explaining how he’s spreading the word about the Omnibus Bill to the 150 or so employees in the two plants he maintains.

I say there’s nothing “ordinary “ about working guys and gals. They’re the ones who make it, fix it, ship it, pack it, grow it and sell it to you. They’re the ones who teach you, rescue you, protect you, fly the plane you’re on, take your pulse, fill up the tank, guard the jails, and build your deck.

I think you understand what I’m saying. These extraordinary people keep the state going…and they’re being rewarded with the horrible prospect of losing their homes when they can’t pay the next property tax bill.

They are not the gilded rich that Albany is always so worried about. You know the gilded rich, the ones the politicians coddle and cosset because they say these people make the jobs.  

Has Albany looked at the unemployment figures lately?

Have they figured out that the big bonus guys kept only the minimum number of jobs in the state which would qualify them for tax breaks? They shipped the other jobs out or “downsized” the folks who actually keep the economy going?

Has anybody told Albany the only thing the bonus babies built was a tower of Babel made of paper promises and paper swaps  which brought nothing to the table but grief ….and  made billions for the under-taxed super-rich while forcing  middle class property taxpayers  to pick up the slack?

It’s hard to tell if Albany understands this equation from what I see and – more importantly- don’t see in the latest budget. Yes, they made the state tax a little bit more equitable by upping the amount the super- rich pay…but too many Albany legislators cried crocodile tears while doing it and said they were really, really sorry. Why?

They never shed a tear for the middle class worker and retiree….at least not in the budget where the choices you make count.

Where’s  the budget action on helping the workers keep their homes? Where’s the property tax reform? The situation for the middle class is worse if anything.

The workers Tommy is talking about have lost hours, benefits, and jobs. Does Albany want more of them to lose their homes on top of these disasters because of extortionate property taxes?

It’s the eleventh hour…we have been promised action on the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Bill by the Albany leaders…maybe we should have called it a “rescue” bill because that’s what our Omnibus Consortium is trying to do…rescue the homeowners  and renters  from continuing to pay crazy property taxes while their incomes tank and their savings disappear.

This session in Albany must achieve substantial tax relief and reform…in plain English, Albany must enact the Omnibus Bill in its entirety.

No delays, no excuses, no watering down the bill, no more band-aids, no more cheap substitutes….the workers’ lives have taken a nose dive…. it’s approaching midnight.

ALBANY, your future is tied to the future of these extraordinary people. You ignore that fact at your peril.

April 4, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:33 pm

HEADS UP LONG ISLAND!!

Omnibus Consortium member John Whiteley -master of the circuit breaker- just sent me some interesting numbers for you guys out in Freeport (that’s my husband’s hometown so it gets a mention) and elsewhere on beautiful L.I.

Your share of the  proposed Omnibus circuit breaker is not too shabby, guys. In the first (phase in) year LI gets $460 million of the total $1.1Billion . The STAR rebate that Albany axed would have brought in $370million according to Newsday. Naturally we want the circuit breaker to replace that rebate..

 John adds , “And in the fourth year the benefit to Long Island rises to $816million plus  another $26 million for renters.”

Of course the  point we always make about the circuit breaker is that individuals need rescuing. 

We’re all different and need individual attention. The Omnibus circuit breaker is designed to do that.

But I thought John’s analysis was very interesting and illuminating. Though the Omnibus Bill meets the relief needs of individuals, it also benefits all areas of the state in substantial ways, especially Long Island.

Get behind the Omnibus Bill. New York State residents need relief from extortionate prop. taxes and reform of the chaotic Property tax system.

DID YOU SEE THE STATE BUDGET?

There is a big hole where property tax reform should go. Luckily we have commitments from our Albany leaders to remedy that situation …and there’s only one remedy, The Omnibus Bill.

Stay in touch for news coming out of Ulster County  soon.

My apologies to those who have sent comments to our blog. We have a slight glitch (not me this time) that prevented me from posting the comments..but we’ll have it fixed soon.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxgioia

April 3, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 8:34 pm

 

They’re running on a tax reform platform again!

Remember the stories about World War II and the brave French underground heroes who rescued Allied pilots shot down in Nazi  occupied France?

Well one REAL underground leader famously said that after the war thousands came forward to say they had been in the underground resistance .  

Funny, he said, because he didn’t remember so many thousands of folks actually being with him when he was fighting the Nazis behind the lines. Suddenly every Frenchman was in the resistance. A miracle, said the real resistance leader.

Well that story always reminds me of the miracle of all those politicians in our Albany legislature who are great property tax reformers and are always ‘fighting  tooth and nail for you’…and incidentally are always running for office when they display their reform credentials. You’d think with all those reformers we’d have had relief years ago!

 So many plans and bills …So many prop. tax reform hearings…. So many leaders claiming tax reform credentials… So many commissions and committees whose leaders spend so much of our tax money working the tax reform game…

……and zero tax reform actually being enacted.

Frankly Mr. Politician…if you haven’t accomplished anything with all that busy work then you have no claim to prop. tax reform credentials.

Taxnightmare.org has been studying this issue for many years now… and lobbying and getting to know the players and the score in Albany…and joining with other groups…and fighting and working hard and –with our allies-putting the issue front and center in this state.

We’re serious and aggressive because we live in the real world where beleaguered homeowners and renters are in danger of losing their shelter with each new, exorbitant  property tax bill.

We’ve seen too many pols claim membership in the tax reform underground…with no results above ground where we live.

We vetted all the bills out there  and finally asked Frank Mauro-the maestro of math, the guru of good government, the father of fiscal equity – to write one that really would do the job…and he did… The Omnibus Relief and Reform Bill…the best…the only solution.

It’s the only approach that brings relief immediately and reform in detailed stages…no other bill even mentions reform.

No other bill currently being touted in Albany even acknowledges that the entire property tax (non- functioning )system is irrevocably broken, chaotic and unfair.

No other bill is a serious, smart bill.

Believe me my fellow taxpayer, this is a fight we in Taxnightmare want to win for our communities, for our friends and neighbors, for the good of NYS.

The Omnibus Bill is the ONLY Bill you should consider. Every other purported prop. tax solution is simply a distraction which :

·         Doesn’t include reform of the prop. tax.

·         Doesn’t bring relief to individuals in all parts of the state equally .

·         Doesn’t bring enough relief.

·         Needs a thousand people working around the clock to administer it.

·         Was written by someone without the credentials or credibility behind the Omnibus Bill e.g. a politician running hard for some office or other.

·         Doesn’t help renters who get the prop. tax ‘pass along’ in their rent  from landlords who are also beleaguered.

·         Has absolutely NO chance of passing in Albany so it’s all smoke and mirrors.

·         Doesn’t have the same solid support of so many  diverse groups that Omnibus has.

Other people may decry the three guys in Albany situation, not me buddy …not right now…as long as they have the power to crack open the property tax issue ASAP we’ll welcome their leadership.

We need to enact Omnibus NOW.  

Middle class homeowners and renter can’t wait for every other problem in the state to be resolved before they are rescued from penury. Waiting for this or that to happen first is just an  excuse not to give MAJOR relief. This is a triage situation. Property tax relief and reform must come FIRST.

We have a commitment from the big three in Albany (Gov.Paterson, Speaker Silver, Majority Leader Smith) to bring in prop. tax relief and reform this session. We’ll take itbut it has to be Omnibus…nothing bogus this time. Call these leaders and tell them that.

 

 ….and go to  http://www.omnibustaxsolution.org/  for their contact info.

If the ‘ big three’ bring it home for us…then all I can say is “live long and prosper, guys” .

XXXXXXXXXXXXXgioia

 

April 2, 2009

TAXNIGHTMARE.ORG AND THE OMNIBUS CONSORTIUM

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:36 pm

Taxnightmare.org is part of the Omnibus Consortium which you can reach at ..

http://www.omnibustaxsolution.org/   

Between this blog and that Omnibus site -and others I’ll give you in subsequent postings -you’ll  be the best informed property taxpayers in the state…oh, and your tax bill of course, will continue to  tell you the worst of it.

Taxnightmare.org is non-partisan and grass roots. Our directors (Coordinating Committee) number twenty and our list of supporters includes every property owner who has seen his/her property taxes rise beyond the point of sanity…. a very LONG list!

 We are wending our way towards enactment of  THE Omnibus Bill (authored by Frank Mauro)… that bill is going to pull homeowners and renters back from the brink   of insolvency.

We are  currently  paying property tax ransom  to keep a roof over our heads.  

THAT HAS TO STOP! 

xxxxxxxxgioia shebar

NOTES FROM THE FRONT..

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:42 am

As you know the budget in  Albany is late.

The S TAR rebate-useless as it is -has been axed. We want our Omnibus Bill circuit breaker to replace it. If you look at the press release (below) from the Omnibus Consortium you’ll see how it will affect you.

Of the big three:

Governor Paterson has said he’ll sign if the legislature sends a circuit breaker bill to his desk. Malcolm Smith , Majority Leader of the Senate , supports our circuit breaker . Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly, says the Assembly supported a circuit breaker first..in the last session.

So we will meet with the leadership soon and tell them we hope they will honor their commitment to the circuit breaker.

..and there is ONLY ONE circuit breaker that will bring real relief to beleaguered property tax payers..THE OMNIBUS CIRCUIT BREAKER.

Call, fax, email and tell the three leaders to quickly enact the Omnibus Relief and Reform Bill.

Log on to our Omnibus Bill website at :

http://www.omnibustaxsolution.org/

What it is…

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:50 am

Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2009
Consortium Praises Legislative Leaders for their Public Commitment to Enact Meaningful Property Tax Relief before the End of Session
(Albany, N.Y.) — A coalition of property tax-reform groups, fiscal watchdogs, and unions praised Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor David Paterson for their public commitment to enact meaningful property tax relief by the end of this legislative session. The Consortium urged them to pass the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Act’s middle income Circuit Breaker with the revenue generated from the elimination of the STAR rebate check program.

The Consortium members all agree that the STAR Rebates were useless when it came to providing meaningful property tax relief. The program provided relatively small checks to everyone regardless of need and did not address the problem of New Yorkers being taxed out of their homes by excessive property tax burdens. The Omnibus Circuit Breaker will cover overburdened renters as well as homeowners and will include municipal and other ad valorem taxes in addition to school taxes.

“Our consortium partners and I believe the passage of the Omnibus Tax Relief and Reform Act is necessary to balance the needs of property taxpayers and the fiscal needs of the state,” said Gioia Shebar, coordinator of Taxnightmare.org and member of the Ulster County Blue Ribbon Commission. “The consortium is calling for a phased in circuit breaker for homeowners and renters that would start next year, allowing the state to use the savings generated through the elimination of STAR rebate checks to balance the budget this year and take some additional savings next year to help balance the budget as well.”

“Property tax groups and others across the state are urging the Legislature and Governor to enact the Omnibus Tax Relief and Reform Act,” stated Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. “Senator Smith and Speaker Silver have shown a strong commitment to meaningful property tax relief for homeowners and renters by supporting the circuit breaker approach our Consortium has outlined.”

Many reformers have called upon the state for years to make New York’s overall tax system more equitable by reducing the state’s reliance on local property and sales taxes and increasing its reliance on state taxes based on ability to pay. Unfortunately, nothing has been done to date to either address the long term structural problem (that New York State policies put an undue amount of pressure on the property tax) or to effectively address the critical short term problem of people being taxed out of their homes. The new commitment from the leaders provided hope to many groups that have been fighting for relief for a very long time.

Susan Zimet, Ulster County legislator and director of Tax Reform Agenda said that, “The Omnibus Bill is the answer to this property tax problem. When you have constituents paying 20-30 percent of their income in property taxes you must develop a targeted program to provide relief to those individuals before they are forced to leave their homes. We need a program that provides overburdened property tax payers with immediate help and that is the Omnibus Bill’s Circuit Breaker. And in regards to the real reform, the long term solution as outlined in the Omnibus Bill must also be implemented.”

“What makes this approach really extraordinary is that it includes fiscally responsible plans both for urgently needed relief and for long-term structural reform of the property tax system. Both are critically important,” stated John Whiteley of the New York State Property Tax Reform coalition.

“Since it is phased in over several years, the circuit breaker included in our bill will immediately help our most overburdened taxpayers remain in their homes while still enabling the state to achieve tax relief savings in the next two budget years. Longer term, to fund services fairly and efficiently in this state and to prevent future crises, we need to reduce the overdependence on the local property tax which has been allowed to develop over the past several years. This archaic system is seriously out of synch with the economic and fiscal realities of the 21st century, having little relationship to one’s ability to pay. The modest increase in broad-based state funding projected in this bill to replace a portion of the local property tax over the next decade will promote tax fairness and greater funding equity among our school districts and local governments,” continued Whiteley

Frank Mauro, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute said that, “In addition to providing for the assumption by the state, over a reasonable period of time, of a targeted $10 billion in local government responsibilities, the Omnibus Act also provides for the creation of a tax reform study commission, with members to be appointed by the Governor and all four parties in the Legislature, and the establishment of a statutory requirement for both a periodic study of the incidence of the overall state-local tax system and analyses of the distributional impact of proposed tax legislation. These are all essential steps if New Yorkers are to have real tax reform.”

During the last two years, local real property tax reform groups, fiscal watchdogs and unions have been successful in making the idea of a middle class circuit breaker a front burner issue in New York State government and politics. Large portions of the public understand what a circuit breaker is, and there is broad public support for the idea of a middle class circuit breaker as a way to deal with situations in which homeowners are significantly overburdened by their property taxes. It is important that New York policymakers seize this opportunity to phase in an effective middle class circuit breaker. But it is equally important that they adopt a long term strategic approach to moving a significant amount of costs from the local to the state levels in a way that achieves true tax reform.

Members of the Omnibus Consortium have been working together over the past 9 months on legislation that would reform the property tax system to provide immediate relief to overburdened homeowners through creation of a property tax circuit breaker — with the long-term goal of creating a fair and equitable tax system by shifting costs from the local level to the state.

Omnibus Tax Relief (www.omnibustaxrelief.org):
Short Term: Circuit Breaker Relief – How It Works:

Significant work has been done in the Legislature regarding the development of a circuit breaker bill by Assemblywomen Galef and Senator Little. The Omnibus Tax Reform bill builds upon these wonderful ideas to create a relatively generous middle class circuit breaker (limiting a person’s property taxes to a fixed percentage of their income) that would be phased in over a period of four years. Governor Paterson has proposed eliminating the STAR rebates checks in his budget proposal as one means of closing our state’s large budget deficit. The omnibus bill proposes to use the money from the elimination of the Star Rebate Program to finance its proposed reforms. But the move from the current rebate checks program to an effective middle class circuit breaker would not have a financial implication for the state until SFY 2010-11 and, therefore, would in no way detract from the Governor’s proposed use of this money in the current fiscal year for deficit reduction.

Calendar Year Household income Circuit Breaker would cover property taxes over the following percentages of household income The refundable credit would cover the following percentage of property taxes over the percentage limit:
2009 $100,000 or less 9% 70%
2010 $100,000 or less 8.5% 70%
2011 $100,000 or less
$150,000 or less
7.5%
8.5% 70%
2012 and beyond $100,000 or less
$150,000 or less
$250,000 or less 6%
7%
8.5% 70%

The omnibus bill’s circuit breaker would limit the cost of the proposed middle class circuit breaker by adopting the Galef-Little bill’s proposed 5-year residency requirement. The costs would also be phased in by gradually increasing the program’s income limits and by phasing in coverage for renters during the second and third years of the phase-in. By replacing the STAR rebate check program with an effective middle class circuit breaker, the omnibus bill would replace a program that provides relatively small checks to virtually all homeowners in the state with a circuit breaker credit that will target more meaningful relief to those homeowners who are truly overburdened by their property taxes. The multi-year “phased in” approach is designed to be sensitive to the state’s fiscal situation while recognizing that homeowners most overburdened by unreasonable levels of property taxation are part of the overall financial crisis and need help immediately.

Long Term: Tax Reform

The omnibus bill proposes to significantly decrease the pressure placed on the local property tax base (municipal, school and county) by gradually shifting $10 billion of costs from the local level to the state level. This shift from the local level to the state would represent a shift from the regressive local tax base to more progressive state taxes based on ability to pay. This shift would cover $6 billion in school costs, $1 billion in local Medicaid costs and $3 billion in the cost of basic municipal services.

Education:
The foundation formula reform plan, enacted into law in 2007, represents an important breakthrough in the way that the state government shares in the cost of education with local school districts. The new formula establishes a foundation funding level for each school district in the state and provides a basis for estimating the cost of providing a sound, basic education. The formula also provides a basis for making sure that we treat all school districts in the state in a fair and equitable way.

Current law provides that the foundation formula be fully funded in 2010-11. The total foundation funding level for the 2010-11 school year under the foundation formula as enacted in 2007 and as modified earlier this year, is an estimated $36.6 billion. Based on the statutory formulas by which responsibility for funding this foundation amount is divided between the state and the local school districts, it is anticipated that in 2010-11 that the state will provide an estimated $18 billion in foundation aid to local districts, or just about 49 percent.

The omnibus bill proposes that once the initial 4-year phase-in of the new foundation formula is completed in 2010-11 and the State Education Commissioner has completed an updating of the basic “per pupil foundation amount,” that in addition to paying its current share of the foundation amount, that the state also gradually increase its share of the total foundation amount. The omnibus bill includes a commitment to shift $6 billion of such responsibility from the local property tax base to the state tax base over the course of the decade beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

Local Government Assistance:
For general-purpose local governments, cities, towns and villages, the primary pressure that the state has placed on local governments has been negative because the state is not sticking to its revenue sharing commitment. The underlying law, which gets notwithstood every year, is that the state is supposed to share 8 percent of revenue with local governments. In the 1980s, when Hugh Carey was governor, NYS had its first freeze on revenue sharing in order to allow one of the state’s earliest multi-year income tax cuts to be phased in as scheduled despite the recession that the nation was then experiencing. In the budget problems of the early 1990s, no major state program was cut more than revenue sharing—from over $1 billion a year to less than $500 million. The omnibus bill provides that over ten years beginning with the 2012-13 state fiscal year that the state phase in a $3 billion increase in revenue sharing with its cities, towns and villages.

Medicaid:
In regard to Medicaid, the state should honor its commitment to picking up increases in the local share in excess of 3 percent per year. But in addition to this, the omnibus bill would gradually increase the state share of Medicaid costs in a way that bases each county’s share of Medicaid costs on objective measures of each county’s relative “ability to pay” and, in the course of doing so, shifts an additional$1 billion in costs (over and above whatever may be the costs of the 3% cap) from the local property tax base to the state tax base.

The bill also provides for the creation of a tax reform study commission, with members to be appointed by the Governor and all four parties in the Legislature, and the establishment of a statutory requirement for both a periodic study of the incidence of the overall state-local tax system and analyses of the distributional impact of proposed tax legislation. These are all essential steps if New Yorkers are to have real tax reform.

Omnibus Consortium Members
Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator- Chair Ulster County Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding and Tax Reform (Ulster BRC) and Property Tax Agenda
Rich Gerentine, Ulster County Legislator, Ulster BRC
John Whiteley, Tri-County Tax Reform, NYS Tax Reform Coalition
Roberta Whiteley-Tri County Tax Reform
Robert McKeon-TREND (Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess County), Tax Reform Coordinator
Bernetta Calderone- Taxnightmare Coordinating Committee- Women’s Issues Leader for Correction Dept., Ulster BRC
Tara O’Connor-Alisse, Taxnightmare.org Coordinating Committee -Ulster BRC
Sam Davis, Putnam Reform Group, Taxnightmare.org Coordinating Committee
Gioia Shebar- Coordinator, Taxnightmare.org, Ulster BRC
Bill Hecht- Cayuga County Property Tax Reform Coordinator
Frank Mauro, Fiscal Policy Institute, author of the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Bill
Ron Deutsch, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Omnibus Consortium Coordinator
Melinda Person, NYSUT
Billy Easton, Alliance for Quality Education
Ellie and Bill Trumpbour, N.Y. Farm Bureau
Jason Angell, Center for Working Families
Victor Bach, Community Service Society
###

April 1, 2009

Notes From the Front:

Filed under: Updates — admin @ 11:57 pm

Hi guys,

Going around roadblocks, over and under bridges , and sometimes right through obstacles, the Omnibus Consortium is moving-as purposefully as I have ever seen a group move- towards getting us out of the terrible jam the property tax has put us into.

We have been meeting  in Albany with the people we want to carry the Omnibus Property tax Reform and Relief Bill to enactment.

Some of these meetings are formal like the one arranged by reform advocate ,JJ. Hanson, the Governor’s rep in the Hudson Valley with the Governor’s Legislative Rep, Cassie Prugh and Lee Kyriacou, Exec. Dir. Office of Real Prop. Services.

This was followed by a two hour extremely  productive marathon meeting with Liz Krueger , Chair of the Senate Comm. on Budget and Tax Reform and her Chief of Staff, Mike Lefebvre.

Representing the  Omnibus Consortium  were: Frank Mauro, Ron Deutsch, John Whitely, Roberta Whitely, Ellie Trumpbour, Susan Zimet, Bill Trumpbour, Bill Hecht, Melinda Person, and from Taxnightmare: Bernetta Calderone and me.

Check out http://www.omnibustaxsolution.org/ for the affiliations of these Omnibus Consortium members.

A notable addition to our group was Victor Bach , Community Service Society.
Victor is a housing expert and he educated me on the distress  property taxes are adding to the woes of renters ALL over the state.
Some lower income people are paying 50% of their income for housing. There is a provision for renters in the Omnibus Bill.

..and then there are the OTHER meetings -the  ones that members of the Omnibus Consortium Coordinating Committee engage in all the time-and the other contacts and the other networking  and the other pressure points….you know the score.

We are all acutely aware  , fellow taxpayers, that getting the Omnibus Bill passed is tantamount to saving our collective hides in these times of uncertainly and  instability.

Especially with all the “SAVINGS ” being contemplated in Albany that would really be a shift of responsibility for funding  services from Albany’s coffers to property owners’  incomes, we are staring into the abyss.

If we fail-which is unthinkable at this point- the repercussions would be swift and devastating.

Failure would mean waving  ‘bye-bye’ to middle class homeownership, bye bye to popular support for  excellence in education, and no hope at all  for civil and orderly governance.

What remains of our  already tattered belief that taxation CAN be  made equitable-and not just government’s  gift to the favored few- would cease to exist.

These are the perilous times we live in….if those who have the power are not part of the Omnibus Solution then they ARE part of the problem.

So far most  of the people we have spoken with appear to want to be part of the solution.

Keep up the pressure and  Log on to http://www.omnibustaxsolution.org/

and keep an eye on recent posting  at    http://www.taxnightmare.org/

XXXXXXXXXXXXXGioia Shebar
Taxnightmare .org
Omnibus Consortium

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