End the property tax nightmare!

October 31, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:19 am


Stepford Wife type androids have taken over many bodies in Albany! They are mindlessly repeating the same nonsensical phrase….”We don’t have the money for services !!!”…and they are expecting us to buy it.

Having screwed up for years and wallowed in cash that we turned over to them (perforce)…note the comptroller’s report that the reserves for road and bridge and tunnel repair  have been depleted by these ne’er-do well masters of the universe –and now when it’s needed …all fall down!

….they are now bleating that they have no money to save property taxpayers from a disaster that has been years in the making…by these very same people!

…and some of them are chairs of committees that had oversight over real property and other pertinent tax and budget matters. 

“We don’t have the money.” ?????????????

What the hell have you been doing during the last decade while property taxpayers were reporting disaster just over the horizon??

Oh right…I forgot.  You were holding hearings…and never had any intention of actually doing anything about the looming crisis.

 Not now…or last year …or the decade before.

 Get outta town guys.

October 30, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:13 pm

WAY  TO  GO  senator  little!!   B

In an interview in an Adirondack newspaper, Sen. Betty Little –gently-brought the media back to essentials in the matter of the Gov’s. attempt to hijack the circuit breaker concept for some purpose of his own…his proposed “circuit breaker” sure wasn’t about property tax relief or reform so it’s anybody’s guess what it was about….

Of course Sen. Little’s language was not at all as scathing or obviously disapproving as mine-not at all.

The senator is understated, sharp as a tack, and well informed… and firmly committed to property tax reform….AND a consummate diplomat.

….much like our own John Whitelely-tax reform expert on the circuit breaker- and, in a former life, a US diplomat. John confers with the senator on a regular basis. He keeps telling us how great Sen. Little is and we concur.

Anyway the Senator commended the Gov. on his entering the lists on the side of the circuit breaker and then drew his attention to the excellent Omnibus circuit breaker bill in the Senate-Liz Krueger’s S4239a.

She commended his timing because the funding for (our) circuit breaker could be included in his budget request.

GOT IT GOVERNOR??? Fund S4239a (same as A8702)…and you’ll have really accomplished property tax reform.

Not to seem sexist but maybe if we elect a lot of gals called Betty  AKA Sen. Little (R) and Liz (D) AKA Sen. Krueger…or any other variant of Elizabeth we’ll have a really functioning state government. The British always thrive under Elizabeths…we need to try SOMETHING …(AND OF COURSE a Steve or two as in Englebright A8702.)



October 29, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:36 pm


You’ve probably heard media reports that the governor mentioned property tax relief in the form of some alternative type of circuit breaker.

The proposal was released to coincide with the special joint session of the legislature in Albany on Nov. 10th which will be dealing with-well– everything.

For mentioning property tax relief – in what are very crazy and messy and confrontational times in Albany (so what else is new?)- we thank him.

But don’t break out the champagne just yet.

I said “alternative” form of circuit breaker because the Gov.’s proposal certainly does not match any recognizable circuit breaker currently in existence.

…and lest you imagine it could be some new and improved form of circuit breaker let me disabuse you of that notion immediately.

It is the kind of “circuit breaker” that could only be conceived in Albany around Halloween time.

Let me further add that the Mauro Omnibus (REAL) circuit breaker -which the League of Women Voters called the very best they have studied- and which is embodied in bills in the legislature S4239a and A8702 – is available for comparison on  

In a subsequent blog the Paterson proposal will be dissected so you can compare it to a real CB (Omnibus)….unless of course I have something more interesting and valid to blog about which is a distinct possibility because so far the gov.’s antic version of a CB is one big  yawn….

Or as my Aunt Lena used to say about anything fleeting and  meretricious, “A flash in the panty”… of course it’s “A flash in the pan” but no one ever corrected her because it  was so much funnier her way.


For those of you who want the very short version:

·       Paterson’s proposal won’t help anyone very much (and not until a long time in the future if ever) and a lot of people are left out right from the starting gate..

·       The numbers come under the heading of fuzzy math….(does anyone there have a calculator??)

·       It doesn’t “break any circuits” aka stop your property taxes from escalating crazily.

·       Unless a lot of implausible things happen in budgets and the economy and your particular school district in exactly the right sequence the relief won’t be “triggered” at all.

·       Oh right…every year the Tax Commissioner has to be favorably disposed to dispense lolly$$$. (heaven help us if one year he suffers from dyspepsia-we’ll owe him!)


Give– me –a– break!!!

What is this thing the governor is calling a circuit breaker? Beats me.

Now let’s get back to relief and reform of property taxes. Enough of this trick or treating stuff.


October 26, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:58 pm


One of my pet peeves with the “let’s cap it and forget it” crowd is that they don’t want the circuit breaker to be enacted because then middle income people will be protected from exorbitant property taxes …and for some unfathomable  reason that appears to be a bad thing to them.

Is it because the people  opposing the middle income circuit breaker are among the super-rich (or their political flacks)who don’t need the help and benefit from the status quo?

They don’t seem to want a REAL cap-the only cap that counts- A CAP on what individuals must pay in property taxes AKA a circuit breaker type cap.

Below is an example of some propaganda that proves my point.

This is from a piece that glorifies bogus budget “CAPs” and tries to vilify circuit breaker type caps.

While the circuit-breaker does address the issue of high taxes borne by those with less income, it should be considered only after the legislature enacts a tax cap.”

Which means after folks have lost their homes while our wonderfully efficient legislators are still debating how many personal earmarks each of them can keep in a so-called “capped budget” by cutting services to the taxpayers.

No we can’t wait!house-thief

…and lest you think the people with “less income” -that our circuit breaker will protect- are paupers, the circuit breaker will- in its final roll-out- offer protection to families with incomes up to 250,000!!!

…and the circuit breaker is the only CAP that means anything because it CAPS individual taxes….immediately.

The Caps these people are talking about MIGHT  “cap” budgets…NOT  YOUR TAXES…… ….SNAKE OIL….

Budget type Caps make no attempt to curb waste or stop your legislators (in a so-called capped budget) from shifting money from services to perks for themselves…or for school administrators (in a so- called capped school budget) from shifting money from the classroom to their own salaries….there is no incentive to clean up run-a-way- tax exempts which can still escalate in so called capped budgets leaving you holding even more of the slack…..  ……and they don’t address any of the crud afflicting property taxes like revals and crazy assessments .

So how do these so-called budget “caps” fit under the heading of property tax reform??? THEY DON’T!!

Only the Omnibus Relief and Reform bill fits.

Its circuit breaker puts immediate caps on individual taxes and sets up a mechanism for total reform of the property tax system. TOTAL.

Politics is a nasty business but espousing a policy of withholding help from desperate homeowners while promoting pie in the sky budget type ‘caps’- and claiming they will help you- is beyond nasty!

The budget type  “caps” people are saying in effect:

Don’t bother saving those  wounded soldiers now…let’s win the whole war first and see if they’re  still alive when-and if- we  achieve total victory by following the tactical advice of the guy  who invented the Maginot line. duh!



Thankfully we ALSO have legislators like Liz Krueger and Steve Englebright and all the others who are supporting the Krueger and Englebright  Omnibus Bills!

Make no mistake. There ARE public servants who really serve the people….you will know them by how hard they fight for these bills S4239a and A8702…how aware they are that insane property taxes are destroying family stability….and how concerned they are with fixing the problem…not tomorrow, not next year, but NOW.

Omnibus Solution…accept no substitutes.

October 23, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:10 pm



…and of course there’s the news that one of our counties just auctioned off properties and made a million dollars in “profit”.

The taxes owed on the properties amounted to 800,000. The properties sold for 1,800,000. No, the owners of the property do not get the overage…the county keeps it.

… about “you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” That’s the situation the counties are in.

The rotten system in place to pay for education means the counties have to make school budgets whole; so if there are delinquent taxes the counties-(MEANING you)-have to make up those delinquent taxes through your county property taxes.

That means you paid your own school taxes in your own  school district but if any district in your county is shorted by delinquent taxes the county uses your county taxes to make up the difference.

So the county has to foreclose and sell properties that are delinquent so the other taxpayers don’t have to make up the difference…and the county has to take the profits over and above the taxes owed from the sale too.

The state will spank their little sales tax bottoms if they don’t go along. They have no other choice. Right?????


This is only true because for years counties have acquiesced in the rotten property tax system… ……instead of growing some cojones and getting together to tell the state “ENOUGH!!!”

In all fairness some counties-Ulster and Dutchess for example- are starting to yell. They are telling the state they can’t pay the state’s bills for schools and Medicaid. They need relief.

I have seen county people-Ira Cohen of Sullivan for example- attend state meetings and make an excellent case for relief and reform…pleading for the state to take action. He was particularly eloquent at hearings of the state Blue Ribbon Commission. I noted some of the very good points he made for the people of his county.

Some county legislators, like Susan (Zee) Zimet, are willing to lead the revolt against a patently stupid property tax system that leads to homelessness and destroys middle income families…..she is willing to take a risk…she is putting the interests of her constituents  ahead of her own political interests and comfort.


Let’s see if the counties will finally band together and take a stand.

 Will they say they were “just following orders” and continue to be enablers of injustice as they have been…or will they finally say “ENOUGH!” ????

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:51 am

From “dledit”, tax reformer, a comment on property taxes ——notes from the front:


Bob Dylan was recently dragged into a NJ police station for looking “suspicious” i.e. looking like a “homeless man”…. speaks volumes about how government operates.

If looking “homeless” is reasonable cause for ‘suspiciousness’ and grounds for police to pull people into the station, what is next… being on the verge of being homeless?
 It shows the hypocrisy of government which apparently regards homelessness as being undesirable, all the while they do what they can to make people homeless.




October 21, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:40 pm


 Wed. 10/21 –Email from Susan (zee) Zimet-from the front line in the property tax struggle…..

Hi Gioia,

Looking at newspapers from last week.

Everyone  knows that NYState lawmakers rarely miss an opportunity to feather their own nests.

 But even during a recession?

UH, yup…

As of Oct 1, they began getting higher travel and lodging stipends, even though many hotels and restaurants have lowered their prices.
For staying in Albany, the cash allowances are now $171 a day, up from $160- a 7% hike-even if actual costs fall.

Lawmakers get to keep what they do not spend. Nice deal, huh?…. L



—————————————————————————-My comment    Pity the first guy to tell me that the state can’t afford property tax relief….


October 20, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:23 am

MARC ACED IT TONIGHT….Monday, Oct. 19th 2 A.M.


Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R) did what I have rarely seen a politician do tonight.

He hosted a forum on property tax reform-specifically the Omnibus relief and reform bill -without taking any time at all to politic for his party or himself. If you count getting political credit for being on the correct side of this issue-Marc is a sponsor of the Englebright (D) bill- then okay he gets political credit for giving the bill a boost. It was very graciously done…..

I wish all the Albany pols would try for that kind of credit.

I mentioned the political affiliations of Assemblyman Englebright(D) –another favorite of mine who introduced the bill -and Marc (R)- who is a sponsor- to show that this is a REAL bi-partisan effort.

The evening was amazingly clear of the kind of polarizing rancor that has occurred recently at Town Halls and I give Marc full credit for setting the tone. It was a revelation to watch him engage his constituents on the issue, knowing that they’re very angry-that ALL OF US IN NYS are very angry- about property taxes, and he wasn’t going to hide from it.

I hate to tell you how many legislators will sign on to property tax reform ( or anything else) and then spend ZERO political capital to advance the bill.

It is very refreshing that this is not the case with Marc…


The Omnibus Consortium was invited by the Assemblyman to speak about our bill.

Frank Mauro and John Whiteley -whom I talk about all the time- gave presentations on the background and provisions of the Omnibus Solution to the crowd in East Fishkill Town Hall. Both had traveled for hours to be there.

No one is more dedicated to this struggle for equity than these two guys!

…also Robert McKeon, Carole Kraus, Roberta Whiteley, Chas Shebar, and I represented groups that belong to the Omnibus Consortium…Have bill will travel!

The evening was live streamed and was immediately available on Cable. It is also on Marc’s website and as soon as I have the info I’ll give you the links so you can tune in to the forum and see for yourself.

What you won’t see is our conversation with a military man headed back to Afghanistan for his third tour of duty while worrying about his mother and grandmother who are victims of insane property taxes…the taxes are eating up his mother’s income and she has had to borrow on her car to pay them!! Not pretty, Albany.L

Then there was the guy on disability with 5000 in property taxes to pay….. or the woman who lost her home and found out too late that it would be auctioned off and she wouldn’t get a penny from the sale. The county took not only the taxes owed but ALL the proceeds of the sale. Didn’t know that happens did you?

Roberta took the stories (by George) and you’ll see them on this blog.

My big question is :

If Marc can obey his conscience and sign on to sponsor Englebright’s bill; if he can work HARD to get it passed; if he can understand how dire the situation is….where are ALL the other Assembly people of both parties? Find out by calling your Assembly members and ask if they are sponsors on A8702…and if not, why the hell not??

…and don’t forget to call The Governor and tell him to put the money for the Omnibus property tax bill in the budget….WHERE IT WILL DO THE MOST GOOD.

The next day…8A.M.

The birds woke me…I’m surprised their nests haven’t been foreclosed yet.

…and Omnibus says “thanks” to John Hickman the supervisor of East Fishkill…  this isn’t an afterthought..I wanted to start the day on a cheery note- before reading the Times -and John is a cheery note.

John is the amiable and low key C.E.O.( no bonuses) of the town that hosted our property tax forum last night. He was most welcoming.

The tech guys did a great job for us too…so thanks East Fishkill.

Bi-partisanship was the tone all around…John(R) had recently hosted Andrew Cuomo A.G.

 He had nice things to say about Andrew and I reminisced about Andrew’s father Mario, once governor of NYS.

Mario, a great raconteur, used to tell this story about the depression in the 1930s…(bigger even than this one).. Gov. Cuomo said his father lost everything in the Great Depression when the stock brokers who jumped out of windows fell on his pushcart.

….so Good Morning Albany!! Ready to pass that Omnibus bill??!!


The archive from Monday night is now online at



October 19, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:51 am




“I was just talking to a friend who’s been living in China for the past 2 years with his Chinese wife. He still has his home here near the reservoirs where, thanks to NYC, his tax is much less than mine on a property of equal value.

I still can’t figure out how 2 properties of equal value can be taxed at different rates when the authority to tax stems from a delegation of state legislative taxing power. Don’t people pay the same rate of income tax everywhere in the state?

Anyway, he told me that, in China, the government taxes real property at 2% when it is purchased and that, thereafter, it is freely owned and able to be passed on to one’s children and heirs at no further cost.”


 BETTER GET DOWN TO THE EAST FISHKILL TOWN HALL (330 rte. 376). I’LL BE THERE TONIGHT AT 7 p.m. TO HEAR Frank Mauro and John Whiteley of the Omnibus Consortium talk about the Omnibus Property Tax Relief and Reform Bill that may allow you to remain in NYS. J

The event is hosted by Assemblyman Marc Molinaro.

…or brush up on your Mandarin.



October 16, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:06 pm


So sayeth the mayors in their Conference….

Mayors actually have a job to do.…and they depend on Albany to a large extent for the means $$$$ to do it.

The Conference of Mayors asked the state government in Albany-which is in slash and burn and cut (in haste and panic) mode- to PLEDGE not to shift the state deficit onto property taxpayers.

The mayors stated that high property taxes were the number one priority in our state.

You got that right, mayors.

Albany is not creative in getting money from the federal government…for example, NYS is still owed billions for “No Child Left Behind” the federally mandated –test the kids until they become androids and they don’t bother anybody anymore– test.

And Albany is loathe to raise income taxes on the super rich though it has no trouble raising income taxes on the middle class.

What the hell do they think property taxes are?

When people are paying 10% or 30% or 40% of their incomes (and even savings) to keep their homes from the auction block, these “property taxes” are really income taxes… on steroids.

 The homes aren’t generating any money to pay the taxes!

It’s a tax on income to keep your shelter from being taken away.

So when Albany sees that its books are out of balance….duh!…it does what is easiest…cuts its share of funds for services ( like medicaid and schools) and shifts the costs to property taxpayers.

State government does damage to society by making careless or politically inspired choices about what is of value and what isn’t.

Thus far they have shown no awareness that -alongside food and clothing -shelter is a basic need in any society…no awareness at all.

They cavalierly tax people out of their homes while doling out meretricious tax exempts and treating themselves lavishly.

The mayors know what they’re talking about. We have heard many of them ask for property tax reform.

The mayors know what will happen so they are trying to warn state government in advance.

Take the pledge, State Government. You cannot shift your deficit to property taxpayers. It wasn’t property taxpayers who got us into this mess in the first place. You broke it…you own it.

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