End the property tax nightmare!

October 13, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:05 pm

Sen. Liz Krueger’s Roundtable on Tax Exempts today 10/13  brought together sometimes inimical interests in a surprisingly civilized exchange…..

,,and not a single punch was thrown! What a gal is our Liz.

The roundtable held in Albany wasn’t about the usual tax exempt issues per se…such as  tax exempt open space vs. private property and development …….or how much tax exempt land do you really need to protect religious liberty (okay so I have an opinion on that oneJ)….although participants did make mention of those and other tax exempt conundrums.

The real (and stated) purpose of the roundtable-in true Property Tax Reform Liz mode was the impact of the growth of exempt properties on those property taxpayers who have to pick up the slack; how much of the growth has validity in terms of its value to the public; how coherent is the process.

Sen. Krueger allowed a free flow of ideas.

Mike Lefevbre -Liz’s very attractive aide-de-camp-

(you should come to some of these meetings just for the scenery- oops) said he’d send me the link so you can watch the proceedings which were live streamed. You’ll be able to judge for yourself and learn a lot-as I did.

Obviously we know that the questions surrounding tax exempts are just one more BIG complication in the tatterdemalion mess that is our property tax system.

(If it were left to me only pagans and really good cooks would get religious tax exemptions… so it’s best not left to individual taxpayers.)


As long as the burdens of tax exemptions (as valid as those exemptions may be) or of schooling our children (as necessary as that task may be) or of providing medical care to those who are in need (as commendable as that is) fall so heavily on the shoulders of our property taxpayers, failure and confusion and resentment are inevitable.

Whatever we pay for these benefits must come primarily from state coffers.

Then let the state determine how much is enough.

Liz’ solution to the property tax tidal wave is central to reform and relief-S4239A (The Omnibus solution by Frank Mauro). Everything follows from that bill.

Frank was at the roundtable as an expert witness- so to speak. You can watch him on the live streaming to which I’ll post the link.

I later talked with Gene DeSantis representing the NYS Camp Directors Association. He spoke eloquently of the benefits to children and communities from camps.

 BUT…. he and his group are obviously aware and sensitive to the burden on property tax payers from having to make up for tax exempts…..below is an excerpt from his presentation.



The state government make some payment in lieu of taxes to the local government, to mitigate for the loss of property taxes caused by tax exempt property.

A portion of NYS income tax taken from employees at not-for-profits goes directly to local government with jurisdiction over the not-for-profit.

An inheritance tax on estates of wealthy individuals earmarked for payments to local governments in lieu of non-profit real property taxes.



So everyone is trying to mitigate the burdens on the localities AKA property taxpayers….

Can  Albany be far behind?? SO FAR THEY ARE DRAGGING THEIR …OKAY… FEET.

One disappointment: Senators Little and Bonacic-listed on the program as participants-were “no shows.”

Sen. Little had to be in her district because the governor was visiting…protocol… I expect the visit was sudden.


I had just received a bill from Senator Bonacic on tax exempt reform that he had authored and I thought he’d talk about it. It’s important.

This is Senator Bonacic’s signature issue.

No one there was able to account for his absence.

A disappointment….

Now is the time for all good senators…politics and parties aside….to come to the aid of the property taxpayers.

Thanks Liz. It was swell!

October 12, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:01 am


October 11, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 2:12 am


Under the heading of Omnibus Never Sleeps:

 I have to let you know that my previous posting of the Tax exempt properties in NYS having risen 80% between 2000 and 2009 to $800 billion should have read between 2000 and 2008 and only to $797 billion…but don’t worry, by now my first figure is probably closer to the truth.

Omnibus Consortium Head Honcho, Ron Deutsch, sent me an email from Mississippi (don’t ask)

Okay ask! Ron is down there for the weekend building homes for those left homeless by Katrina…he’s that kind of guy… I was saying the wee hours of the morning he sent me an email detailing a meeting Tuesday in Albany that one of us (Omnibus members) and you, if you can, should attend.

The meeting will be chaired by Sen. Liz Krueger (senate select comm. on budget and tax reform)

The topic is, of course, the extra burden placed on those of us who pay property taxes caused by the proliferation of tax exemptions.

The $$$$$ amount of property off the tax rolls (give or take a billionL) is starting to look like another reason (let’s see that makes about one hundred thousand and one) to pass our Omnibus Bill which has a BIG reform component .

We should be looking damn hard at why property owners have to cover that $800 billion in their property tax bills… ..and we’re not talking about the little village church here or the town library or good guy organizations like Ron’s that don’t have much property (if any) off the tax rolls…

To find out what people ARE talking about:

The meeting will be a round table in Albany on Tuesday, 10/13 -12:30 the capitol Rm.332.

…goodnight Ron and the other good guys building homes in Mississippi.

…and goodnight to the rest of the and Omnibus Consortium folks trying to save homes here.


October 7, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:19 pm

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together…making a dismal picture…  LLLLLLLLLL

From Bill Hecht the following bits…

……(from Tompkins Co.)…………………………..the increase in state pension costs   — from 7 percent of staff earnings in 2009 to 11 percent  in 2010 —
amounted to the largest single increase among the county’s expenses,
adding more than $1 million.

And that affects ALL the other counties as well…up go your county prop. taxes….

“A study released last week by the Tax Foundation lists Chautauqua County as having the fourth-highest property taxes in the United States based   on median home value.”

Lucky Chautauqua   LLL

..and yet another  sickening number….

The state continues to flout  the resolution of the 13 year Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit which obligated it to make big increases in school spending (which should lower your school taxes)…the 600 million in “foundation aid” meant to go into education -as this year’s payment -was channeled instead into state deficit reduction ( or maybe state legislature staff raises??)…LLL (UP GO YOUR SCHOOL TAXES)

You will remember that compliance with this lawsuit (which the state lost… and is THEREFORE charged with living up to its funding responsibilities) is part of our Omnibus Bill property tax reform concept…it is embodied in Sen. Krueger’s  excellent bill S4239A and Assemblyman Englebright’s “same as “ bill in the Assembly..A8702.

Remember these names when it comes time to say your prayers or wish good karma on… or VOTE for ….These are the good guys who are carrying the ball for all of us.


FROM A COLUMN BY Curt  Schoeberl and Sen. John Bonacic in the Times Herald Record  Oct.7th…..and just a side note…this paper has been outstanding in covering the prop. tax crisis…hear that NYTimes!!??

“In 2000 441 billion worth of real property was exempt from taxation in NYS…” That means you picked up the property tax slack for these exempt properties…

“Today, that number has jumped to 800 billion.”

Nobody got THAT MUCH religion in 9 years!!…let’s get some balance in how much we tithe ourselves in property taxes so others (holier than we are??) don’t have to be bothered paying anything….


This is all the news (that’s fit to printJ) from our Omnibus Consortium conference call this A.M.

Coordinator of our Omnibus Consortium, Ron Deutsch, reinforced our belief that the state Senate will move on property tax relief this session . Naturally we will be lobbying to shape that relief and make sure reform is included… Liz Krueger’s S4239A is the ticket. Accept no lesser solutions, guys…and leave NO stone unturned …

We will schedule meetings with the big guns-hopefully among them the newly minted Lt. Gov. R. Ravitch who has the right kind of savvy and the  practical, experienced mind  to see the necessity of prop. tax reform if middle class New York is to survive this recession. I’ll keep you posted.

Other meetings are also scheduled….but more on that later.

Omnibus will take to the road again:

On Monday, Oct. 19th  The Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of NYS – will hold its Annual Affordable Housing Conference in Albany  (CTRL plus CLICK to follow the link and get all the info about this important meeting )- Ron Deutsch (Omnibus Consortium Head Honcho) and Victor Bach (Omnibus Consortium member and expert on prop. taxes and renters) will conduct workshops on Property Tax Relief  for Homeowners and Renters.


On Monday, Oct. 19th 7P.M. to 9 P.M. Omnibus Consortium members, Frank Mauro ( who wrote the bill) and John Whiteley  ( circuit breaker expert) will discuss the Omnibus solution-the bills I have listed above- at a forum hosted by Assemblyman Marc Molinaro, a strong supporter of the bill.

Other members of the Omnibus Consortium will be present as well – ready, willing and eager to answer your questions on our property tax solution.

The forum will be held at:


East Fishkill Town Hall

845) 221-9191
Town of East Fishkill
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533


You are most welcome…come and talk to us .  Try to get to one of these events…..



October 5, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:59 pm


The Times had an article on the findings-published in our blog last week-that NYS has the dubious distinction of being ‘up top’ in the charts on exorbitant property taxes around the nation. It would have been nice to be on the bottom of that particular list.

The Times said they expected a backlash??!!! Hey guys, the backlash has already happened. People are hopping mad…

The Times also suggested that the Dems had to deliver relief or be blamed for not addressing the Brobdingnagian* prop. taxes in this state because they hold the legislature AND the governorship.  NO COMMENT (as of now).

*Even if you never read Gulliver’s Travels you know that has to mean HUGE.


From time to time we publish letters from tax reformers around the state…below is one such from Peter Brothers and normally calm Peter has had it….

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:36 pm

I recently learned from a neighbor of mine whose primary residence is in
another part of the state that he is disgusted with the STAR rebate being
eliminated and he told me this represented $4,000 in his pocket. This
individual makes over $500,000 per year. His primary residence is in a
wealthier neighborhood in NYS than we are. I told him in our neighborhood we
got a STAR rebate check for about $150 while we still pay over $10,000 on an
annual basis in combined property taxes. Do any of you who are against the
circuit breaker see the disparity??? There is a definite lack of fairness
with regard to property taxes and the system has to change. Personally, I am
very glad the STAR rebate has been eliminated because it will save the state
a large sum of money. The Krueger bill (S4239) would help a lot of people in
the middle and lower class. At the same time, the cost to the state with the
elimination of STAR would be insignificant considering the size of current
state budgets. If the state can afford to pay close to $1 billion to bring
in a chip fab company via corporate welfare/NYS Empire Zone/NYS Empire State
Economic Development Corporation, they certainly have the money to help
honest, ethical, hard working, middle and lower class property owners. Of
all the special interests that lobby government for favors, there is no
group that is more neglected and abused than the residential property owner
in their PRIMARY residence. For those who say the state doesn’t have the
money, I agree we are in a crisis. I have begged state elected leaders all
over the state to cut spending and make the governments which impose
unfunded mandates pay for those mandates such as No Child Left Behind and
Medicaid. It hasn’t worked!!! Give those who are paying a disproportionate
share of their income toward taxes and we can use our resources to help
implement a system which is more fair and equitable for all taxpayers.
Cutting spending and eliminating unfunded mandates would be a significant
part of the plan. 

October 1, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:34 pm



What’s with all the crocodile tears in Albany –et tu Ravitch?-about billionaire’s having to pay their way with reasonable taxes that leave them (still) with many homes and in absolutely no danger of being reduced to insolvency?

Where’s the outrage in Albany at the plight of middle income folks-who REALLY create a society’s wealth with hard, socially necessary work- having to flee to other states because they are in danger of losing their one and only family home to exorbitant property taxes??

As far as I can see the three rich guys who are making all the noise and crying into their champagne can claim residency in another state by just taking advantage of a law that lets them continue to live in NYS, continue to do most of their business here, and continue to reap their profits here. What a tragedy! NOT!!!

All they have to do is spend a few more days in their mansions in another state to stop paying taxes to NYS…big deal!

But our “enlightened public servants” in Albany are really concerned that the super-rich might be insulted by being asked to cough up a bit of their loot.

They are not at all concerned about the middle class thousands who flee every year thereby losing NYS congressional seats .. …now THAT really costs us.

If Albany is so concerned about the people it purports to serve  (as some politicians claim EVERY election time)- why hasn’t there been any action in the twenty years the property tax problem has been building to its current crisis proportions?

…and what’s up with all the garbage about the super-rich creating wealth? You could fool me… considering the only wealth many of them create is their own as they fleece companies, fire employees, and destroy the financial stability of the country.

These are not admirable people, kids. Their selfishness made for all the trouble we’re in now.

The really classy super-rich…and there are many…NEVER seem to complain about helping the nation and state that made them rich….I have named some of the civic minded wealthy  in previous blogs.( That may get you to peruse earlier blogs when you can spare the time from your third job.)

The vulgar super-rich are the whiners and self absorbed cry- babies

”Look at me. I’m a victim of the class war!”…which on the face of it is ridiculous since they have no class Jwhatsoever.

You can always tell the difference between merde and meringue.

As for the three guys who are threatening to leave NYS (AS IF!) one gets tax breaks to build tall buildings that no one can afford to live in; the other one –as reported by the press- was instrumental in the recent strike by NYS Senators that did terrible damage to our image; and the third guy makes a lot of noise without providing any employment for anyone besides his chef and his chauffeur.

With rich friends like that, NYS doesn’t need any enemies.

 They can all be easily replaced by younger more forward looking entrepreneurs.

 In addition even their bespoke suits cannot conceal the fact that they are obviously NOT in any danger of starving.

Don’t cry for them, Albany…cry for your faithful, hard working citizens who only flee the state because you are threatening to tax them out of their family homes.

Moreover Albany, as for the claims that the super-rich are so valuable and worth so much more of your time and tears  than just the rest of us taxpaying citizens-I guess if you repeat a lie often enough –or fabricate a statistic to artfully prove the lie – maybe some folks will believe it….

……but not the people who opened their school tax, county tax, and local property tax bills.

They know who’s getting shafted by taxes…..and they know that -so far- Albany doesn’t seem to  give a damn about them and their families.

P.S. Albany….there is one little thing that we ordinary folks have more of than the super-rich…VOTES!!….



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