End the property tax nightmare!

August 31, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:15 pm



From both Bill and Gene (tax reform activists) we have received more alarming news on the property tax disaster front.

A newspaper headline read “50% jump forecast in pension costs”…..

We have been warning you about this jump in pension costs due to losses in the market. 

Pension funds are invested in the stock and bond markets and-like everything else- suffered losses.

The law states that pension losses must be made up and –guess what– they will be made up by increased property taxes around the state.

Our unhappy prophecy has been verified by NYS Comptroller DiNapoli.

It is estimated that local taxes will go up about 10% just to make up the pension fund losses.

…and still the state has not moved on property tax reform.

If this continuing, inescapable, crazy rise in property taxes doesn’t constitute an emergency, I can’t imagine what qualifies as an emergency in our no.1 (in dysfunction) state capital, Albany.

It seems you can only set a fire under our public servants by threatening their perks.

Most of our current crop of legislators –like wax fruit- look all shiny and polished but are entirely useless except as decorations.

They continue to blame everything and everyone but themselves.

Some yell for a constitutional convention-which may be a very good idea- but the legislators are still responsible for the mess we’re in and they can’t shift the blame.

If it was so impossible to deal with something as critical and basic as the property tax disaster (without a constitutional convention or other outside intervention) why did so many legislators stay in Albany and play the game for so many years????

You get no points for suddenly joining the call for reform when you have been part of the problem all along.

You DO get points for getting the emergency Omnibus Relief and Reform Bills passed ASAP…that means WHEN YOU (legislators) RETURN IN SEPT.

Under the constant financial assault of property taxes, many New Yorkers –except those who have already chosen to leave- are in flight or fight mode.

They have to decide whether to sell-if they can- and flee the state… or stay and fight. You know what I’ll say.

If you can hold on a while longer, stay and fight along side  us.

August 27, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:50 pm



Of course Albany’s lack of concern for this number one priority will be apparent when their constituents receive their September property tax bills…..

We recommend homeowners have a defibrillator handy…and renters will receive the shock later when landlords pass along their increases.

We are calling, writing, meeting, and pressuring.

There will be no rest for Albany while people are being devastated by exorbitant property tax claims on their income and savings to keep their homes from foreclosure.

The news isn’t pleasant….school districts contemplating bankruptcy because of double digit property tax increases.

Waste and profligacy in Albany continues.

Our state government is still giving big raises to its flaks and hiring help to pay off or cover up.


Even Golisano (the billionaire who protested the “millionaire’s tax” by claiming Florida residency) has said maybe property taxes should give way to income taxes….

Remember your income taxes are a fixed percentage of your income…but your property taxes are not…they can rise to consume 100% of your income…sure I’ve said that one hundred times before but the threat is so terrible it bears constant repeating.

Members of the consortium are working to produce documentation on why our bills are the best and how to pay for them…

The Trumpbours are working with the Farm Bureau leaders  from whom they have gotten lots of support for our circuit breaker…we are planning public events…and lots more..

I’ll keep you informed of what we are doing to advance prop. tax relief and reform…and with whom we are networking (polite word for planning, meeting, plotting, fighting, stroking, slamming…whatever it takes)…..and who the good guys are … probably already know the bad guys….

I’ll tell you more ….When I can.

August 23, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:58 pm

Some more horrendous taxnightmare possibilities to think about……

In case you aren’t already alert to the potentials for disaster in our present property tax system, here’s a white knuckle possibility for you to consider.

Around the nation private companies are buying up tax delinquent bills from desperate counties and cities. This is not a philanthropic act, kids.

Privatizing of a government function is a profit making undertaking. The companies immediately jack up the interest rate on the delinquent property taxes-way more than the government charges.

The result is foreclosures–and according to the NYTimes- neighborhoods are becoming “wastelands of abandoned properties”.

Foreclosures are skyrocketing. People suddenly find huge interest tacked on to their late property tax bills and bingo, it’s disaster time in the community.

I checked and thus far -for example- Ulster County no longer sells tax liens…. Ulster has been very supportive of our efforts to reform property taxes…

Check your county and see if they sell tax liens. Some do.

In this recession however you can bet that cash strapped government entities are going to resort to anything to get $$$$$.

Tax lien investments bring in about 10 billion a year!  A nice pile of loot!

…A tasty-if ghoulish- meal.

This nation-wide tax nightmare suggests we had better hurry our Omnibus property tax relief and reform bill through Albany to gain some measure of protection against the horrors awaiting property taxpayers and renters (who pay property taxes passed along from their landlords).

Those who depend on our state government to be nurturing, thoughtful, and benign -absent our Omnibus bills forcing taxpayer protection- had better go out and buy a tent…


August 20, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:43 pm

Don’t have unprotected sex  TAX!

I look at EVERYTHING going on in government through the prism of our crazy Property Tax system…and-if you want to keep your home and at least some of your $$$$$- you should too!

At present you are completely unprotected in the matter of how much of your income you can be made to pay in property taxes.  You can end up paying 100% of your income if we do not secure the protection guaranteed by our Omnibus Bills….currently in the Senate are S4239A and in the Assembly A8702.

We will be working hard to get the money for our circuit breaker in the Governor’s budget.

Sure we want long term reform of the cockamamie ad valorem taxes…property taxes…( school, local, county, etc.)


But if we don’t get immediate relief and protection asap… the circuit breaker portion of our Omnibus bill… your financial goose will be cooked long before any reform is in place.

Should you wait around for a cure for tetanus (which can kill you) or should you get protection –a tetanus shot- BEFORE you get the disease and while we find a cure….Easy answer to that. Protect yourself!

Meanwhile Property Tax snake oil solutions are peddled all over the place…

LIKE “we need budget caps” ( (maybe 100 years from now that’ll keep taxes down or maybe it’ll just be destructive…do you want to wait to find out?)

OR MAYBE “Let’s cut spending”…sure but cut what? My entitlements? Your entitlements? Okay …cut Albany’s entitlements.

I like that… but can we wait for Albany to cut its perks … without any property tax protection against taxes consuming all our income in the short term?? AS IF!!

OR MAYBE “Let’s re-instate the puny, screwed up tax rebates.”  Sure that really helps like a bandaid for a heart attack.

Let me repeat….Look at everything through a property tax prism.

Albany has a way of shifting its responsibilities onto property taxes…

Guess who will pick up the increased recession Medicaid bills if no health care reform is passed in Washington to get people on insurance? The increased Medicaid $$$ costs will come tumbling down on us, property taxpayers!

Your county prop. taxes will pay a bunch more. YOU!

…not the financial resources of the Feds (a lot bigger than yours, dude)….Not the financial flexibility of the state (a lot more sources of $$ than you, kid)…

… will pay or lose your home…no matter how high it goes….you will pay in your property taxes for Medicaid for the uninsured. Yes, I DO look at everything through the prism of prop. taxes…..

How about education? The state is reneging on a court order (postponing, they say) to pick up a lot more of the cost of education. Who’s making up the slack…..Property taxpayers! You knew the answer didn’t you?…

No unprotected anything, guys……no rampant, unprotected property taxes…they WILL destroy your financial base and your family’s stability…

The Omnibus Bills and ONLY the Omnibus Bills will put up a preventive firewall between you and the messes out there….while we look for a cure for the prop. tax disease….

Does everything impact prop. taxes negatively?

Let’s see: corrupt state government, lack of health care, lack of funding by the feds and state for the increasingly high cost of education, lack of fed and state provision for safety nets for folks in a recession, increasingly generous and nutty tax exemptions, waste of money in Albany, loss of jobs, bad assessment practices, loss of money in pension funds… name it, it falls heavily on property taxes one way or another.

Are you willing to wait for protection and relief from ALREADY outrageous property taxes while we TRY to  reform all these areas????

NOT me!

… …get vaccinated…help us pass the Omnibus Bills…get the circuit breaker up and running….


August 19, 2009


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:15 pm




Followed by continuing garbage coming out of Albany…AND A WORD TO THE WISE ON HEALTH CARE REFORM AND PROPERTY TAX IMPACT!!!


Hey G,


I couldn’t resist the power of slogan! So, for what it may be worth to our cause, I submit the following:




Property Tax Payers of New York State Will Not be Baited into More Rebates!


Anyone in the NYS legislature advocating the restoration of property tax rebate checks over a real, state-wide property tax/education funding overhaul, is just baiting NYS homeowners with more stalled and stale policy tactics.


Now is the time for REAL PROPERTY TAX REFORM, and we will not settle for anything less. Learn more about the real solution to ENDING THE PROPERTY TAX NIGHTMARE at


Hope you’re having a lovely summer! Still working ecstatically and feverishly on my book!






A FOLLOW-UP ON LYDIA’S COMMENTS: Senator Catherine Young is pushing a petition to restore rebates…….WHY??!!!

Here’s the scoop on how useless and expensive the PROPERTY TAX rebates were and what the Senator should be doing instead….

This is the story.


The prop. tax rebate check gave back money without much regard to income so people who paid  more- sometimes high income people since there was no real income determinant- got a great  deal more  money.

For example the owners of a huge estate with millions in income every year  could get a rebate much larger than the ordinary property taxpayer who was paying a much greater percentage of income for property taxes…sometimes 30% or even 50% of their income… in other words the person paying 30% of their income in property taxes would probably get much less of a rebate than a Rockefeller paying one thousandths of 1% of their income in property taxes…..unless the Rockefeller’s mansion was assessed lower than the middle income person or the rich person lived in a hovel-Both very unlikely circumstances.


In addition the program cost a lot to administer and sometimes people who had paid no property taxes at all received the checks. One friend tried to send the unearned rebate back and was told not to bother because it would further complicate the whole rebate!


In many cases -we have heard- divorced wives (married when they paid the prop. taxes) received nothing because the checks were sent to husbands whether BOTH had paid the taxes or not.


In other words,  the rebate check program –we are NOT talking about the regular STAR programs now-was so badly managed and was such a poor use of available funds, it should have been done away with and been replaced with our Omnibus bills  S4239A and A8702.


Doing away with this flawed, expensive rebate program WAS a good thing…but NOT replacing it with real property tax relief and reform was not a good thing! In fact that was very bad.


The Omnibus Consortium thought the funds recaptured -when the rebate was cut out -could then be used to institute real relief through a circuit breaker program where none of the rebate abuses would exist and middle income people would get back far more.


Also the many people who get a break from a circuit breaker-the bill very generously covers  incomes of up to 250,000 in the fourth year- would get a chunk of their property tax money back  and the state would make up the difference…not other property taxpayers

Neighbors wouldn’t make up the difference with their own property taxes -as happens now with generous and badly policed tax exempts to very large religious and quasi-religious organizations.


The state does have the money for the things it chooses to spend on.


(There will be an expose soon by ZEE on big $$$$$$$$ sent-by Albany- to middle eastern sheiks from your tax dollars that would have been enough to fund our circuit breaker…you will read it and SCREAM.) Go Zee!



State money generally comes from income based taxes which are individually “capped” ….not a useless budget cap but a cap on your individual taxes.


You only pay a certain portion of your income for income taxes….always…it doesn’t depend on county or local or school budgets.

In order to change the percentage you pay in income taxes the state has to pass a bill.


That is seldom done and is always highly fought over. The last raise only applied to the tiny percent of VERY high earners and was only a small raise.


BUT, for your property taxes to reach 20%, 50% , even 100% of your income, all that has to happen is for school, county, local budgets to go sky high  or for you to lose your job or for the state to give out tax exempts in your area…or for a company like Dynegy to get a big prop. tax break so you make up the slack as happened in Marlboro….- and you get stuck  with the bill.

A small rebate wouldn’t matter  one little  bit…but a circuit breaker in place could save you from foreclosure.


In addition the state gets money from fees and sales taxes and many other sources of loot. Not all the money comes from your income taxes….property taxes ALL come from you to save your home.


In short: Reinstating the rebate sucks –The Omnibus Circuit breaker is the real deal. 

Bringing back the rebates would be like raising the Titanic to add to the ferries going to Staten Island…WHY???!!


….and talking about throwing away money (don’t tell me you have no money for tax reform, Albany )…….The NY TIMES reported today that Sen. Pedro Espada received about 500,000 of your tax  $$$$ for new hires and raises for personnel…..:(  read who these folks are……

…..Albany is-as they used to say about “fallen women” -without shame….. 

However-presumably- unlike Albany -the women gave some value for their money……

……AND-in case it hadn’t occurred to you- if federal health care reform (much in the news) succeeds in taking  people off Medicaid-paid for in large part  by your skyrocketing  county property taxes– and puts them into some kind of health insuranceyou will be off the Medicaid property tax hook for a whole helluva lot of $$$$$$$$$$

– SO…if you take part in this health care debate and you pay property taxes (BOTH homeowners and renters do)

– please remember which side your bread is buttered on…enlightened self interest dictates that property taxpayers will benefit from proposed health care reform….and yes, I am obsessed!


August 16, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:50 pm


Zee and I talk about tax reform, sex, and health care on Michael Mazzeriello’s radio show…..okay just tax reform…

August 15, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:05 pm

Uh Uh dudes…hands off…don’t try dirty politicking with the property tax issue..

You can kick around the serious crisis of health care and use it to get people riled up and crazy for your own nasty political reasons…That’s not my pea patch right now … but keep your sordid paws off people already suffering from chaotic property taxes or you will have me to deal with…and I’m furious as it is!

Our governor-in his continuing search for relevance- decided to give what one senator is nastily calling “bonuses” to people on welfare to buy their kids school supplies.

If the Gov. wants to continue to make tiny, uncoordinated, badly timed, and divisive overtures to  big, big social problems like poverty and joblessness and insane property taxes …problems that really require thought and creativity and daring- instead of bandaids- he has to expect the opposition to pounce on him…

However when one Senator says the governor is giving “bonuses” to “Welfare” folks that he could have used to reform property taxes then the Senator has made a mistake…don’t mis-use the property tax issue-our issue- to push some other item on your agenda, Mr.Politician.

Mis-using the property tax crisis to advance some other issue is a favorite ploy of the Albany pols…

The governor himself is trying to push through budget caps by erroneously calling them property tax relief or reform which budget caps most definitely are not.

…but  most especially, Albany  …Don’t EVER attempt to throw the heartbreaking issue of property taxes into the mess of some tawdry identity politics that you guys play up there…

Don’t conflate the equally heartbreaking issue of sustaining the poor and jobless in a recession with your decades long willful neglect of property tax reform…

Albany has played around with the property tax issue for years in order to advance political careers. Every pol you talk to runs on property tax reform…but none of them has come close to  accomplishing it…and it’s always the other guy’s fault…  


Now I have my own clear vision of the welfare group who should be cut off from the public dole…and that group includes the senators and all the Assembly people getting big bucks for looking busy and actively preventing all progress on property tax reform for as long as their privileged posteriors have warmed the leather seats in their opulent offices.

Albany government (not services just government) costs us a quarter of a billion dollars a year-and that’s what’s on the books.

God only knows how much we really spend to feed, clothe, house, pension off, and provide lifelong gold plated health care for these Albany layabouts…..not to mention the governor’s office… and the nieces and nephews and sons and lovers and lawyers of the whole Albany kit and caboodle who are serving as deputy assistant to the assistants in charge of cutting checks for politicians and keeping toilet paper stocked in their private bathrooms….

…and -in all the years I have been working on tax reform – these political parasites on the public dole- have never given up a single dollar of their own WELFARE money (-what else do you call taxpayer money the pols haven’t done a damned thing to earn-) for the good of the people- for property tax reform- for people who are in danger of losing their homes…they haven’t sacrificed one thin dime of their salaries, perks, or privileges.

Do not attempt to divide the citizens of the state by using property taxes as a wedge, Albany.

We citizens ALL need and want property tax reform….rich, poor, middle class, young or old, employed or jobless, city dwellers  or farmers, or rural folks, or suburbanites, owners or renters…all of us want property tax reform.

 You guys have had decades to solve the crisis. How dare you blame property tax chaos and corruption on anyone but yourselves.

Get it done, Albany…..or get your lazy selves off welfare -AKA the public payroll.

It’s about time you all got real jobs anyway.


August 13, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:21 pm

…but don’t ask about health care…..

Okay you can ask when you call in on Satuday, August 15th, between 8 A.M. and 10 A.M. to WGNY 1220 AM or WDLC 1490 AM.

WGNY# is 845-561-9469.

WDLC # is 845-858-WDLC.

Zee (Susan Zimet) will be sitting in as guest host and I’ll be keeping her company on Michael Mazzariello’s talk show “Closing Arguments”.

My answer to health care questions will be that people who are kicked to the curb by outrageous property taxes probably can’t afford health care….

I might have a little trouble bringing in the evils of property taxes in answering questions about legislators’ predilection for bizarre sex scandals but-trust me- I’ll squeeze it in.

Call and vent about property taxes….keep the issue current in the media.


Should I even bother to talk about the Senate job created for Senator Espada’s son? NAW…too easy…and he resigned anyway when folks started talking ‘nepotism’ which is against the law…and no, you won’t find “nepotism” on a porn site…. When it’s the public getting screwed you have to look to Albany.

Should I fume about recent job creations for friends of “Albany ‘public servants’ in high places” -despite a purported hiring freeze? NAW….

I’m saving it all for when some Albany ‘public servant’  tells me they have no money for Property Tax Relief….

For the time being we must work with the people currently in Albany in order to get our Tax relief and reform bills passed… I am restraining myself…

YES, I AM! You have no idea what unrestrained looks like, honey..

August 10, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:17 pm

Wrong way, Albany!!

In this recession it is incumbent on government NOT to put further stress on consumers who will roll up into  protective balls  like hedgehogs and try to save what little they have…that approach by government makes everything worse..

The feds have attempted to avert disaster by putting money into the economy…..thus far we seem to have stopped the slide into a full- fledged depression…

Most importantly Washington has attempted to help avert foreclosures which are bad for individuals, terrible for neighborhoods, and horrible for the economy…

I don’t mean to wade into that national discussion right here (my focus is Nightmare property taxes exclusively)  …..but it does seem appropriate to point out that Albany has been running fast in the other direction….

Let’s see how that has worked.

They pretend to be cutting or capping budgets (as if Albany ever sacrificed any of their perks!). They say that  saving money is the solution to the crisis.…Albany gobbledygook!!

Their concept of saving money is to further beggar property owners by making them pay for the public services Albany SHOULD be financing, like schools and Medicaid (expanding due to the crisis of people losing jobs and health care).

By NOT dealing with the chaotic property tax tsunami that is drowning so many householders and renters, they are directly adding to the foreclosures we have to prevent for our economy to survive.

They have even cut prop. tax rebates (as puny and silly as they were) and replaced them with more mandates, more tax exempt give-aways,  and zero prop. tax reform.

Their solution is bogus budget caps….which put not ONE DIME into the pockets of consumers…and don’t cap a single property taxpayer’s enormous tax bill…let alone cut the soaring property tax for a single homeowner.

Their policy of denial and neglect is either stupid or duplicitous …or both.

Are they panicking and unable to cope or are they greedy and determined to make us pay for their ‘business as usual’ regal lifestyles?? …regardless of the damage to OUR lives and the economy?

It is hard to imagine that Albany doesn’t have access to the best economists and the most voluminous data to help the struggling middle class…Frank Mauro-the state’s most acclaimed and knowledgeable fiscal guru- is just an email away guys and gals!

….And of course they have the perfect vehicle to stem the tide of bankruptcy and despair facing homeowners and renters….they have the Mauro Omnibus solution already in bill form for them to enact ….S4239A and A8702.

…instead of being part of the solution, Albany, thus far, has  become the  biggest  part of the problem.






August 7, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:38 pm

The senate completed its EMERGENCY AGENDA on August 6th very quickly and efficiently…..AMAZING HOW FAST THEY CAN WORK WHEN THEY WANT TO….


GO FIGURE::::::::::::::::::::L



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