End the property tax nightmare!

May 31, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:15 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:09 pm

THE “STUPID SEASON” IS UPON US…it used to be August and it used to be the “ silly season” but  matters have taken a turn for the worse…Monday, May 31, 2010

We have a governor and governors-to-be inveighing against an Albany where they have been active politicians for all their adult lives…I can hear them now, “WHO ME??!!! It’s was the other guy! I’m going to clean up.”


We have democrats running against the democratic legislature and unions for goodness sake!!…and republicans evading the tea baggers   tea party “populists” who are blaming Obama for being “un-American” for chastising poor little innocent BP…that wonderful multi- billion dollar British Company currently fouling up all the gulf states….say what!!?? It must be August!

…and the democratic candidate for governor (and all the republicans running against him) saying very boldly , “We won’t raise taxes!” meaning they won’t raise taxes on the Wall Street crowd that is raking in the do-re-mi BUT the HELL with the middle class that is devastated trying to keep their homes from exorbitant property taxes that go up every single yearAre these not taxes?? Are they not consuming 30% or 40% of family incomes”?  NAW…they mean they won’t raise the OTHER taxes…any other taxes.

Then there are the Dems and Republicans who say the Richie Rich crowd will flee to New Jersey if we raise taxes on them -ignoring the fact that the New Jersey legislature has raised those taxes already above what we are proposing.  Can these politicians be more insulting to the intelligence of the citizens of this state??

…and of course there are the minor parties –claiming to be either progressive or independent or conservative whose sole purpose in life is not to run candidates of their own ( which would give us a choice) but to rubber stamp some major party candidates.

Oh that’s a big help, dudes!!!

and we need to wonder why the politicians in both parties have managed to eke out beaucoup bucks for religious communities sitting on thousands of acres of land and getting a free ride…but not a penny for property tax relief for those of us carrying the load…You think it’s because the politicians are ensuring their place in paradise-or just buying votes (you get one guess)?

You think that’s stupid… how about the emails I get at Property telling me stuff like … let’s see…Oh yeah…”Obamacare” (the angry oldies’ name for the very modest government health care reform bill…VERY MODEST…) “Obamacare is going to cut off body parts from seniors to feed illegal aliens”…or words to that effectthe stupid season in spades.  Leave me off your list PULEESE!!

Then there are the meetings around the state being hosted by twenty year ALBANY veterans ( from both parties) on “Fixing Albany” or “Making Albany Function” or “reforming property taxes next year maybe- if I am re-elected for the tenth time and there’s money.)…hey, here’s an idea Mr./Ms. Legislator. Let’s start the reform ball rolling with your resignation!

Of course it’s open season on teachers…after all they should be punished for keeping our (ahem) thoroughly disciplined and charming youngsters away from home where they drive us nuts…( will the summer never end??? Oh right, it hasn’t started yet.)

However I do have a bone to pick with teachers….these bleeding heart mentors of our young seem to think  (fondly) that they are doing society  a service by telling any spawn of the devil who happens to be designated “gifted and talented” (as opposed to ungifted and untalented????) that he/she will be a leader of men-and presumably women-…


In turn, that creates a very crowded field of “gifted and talented” running furiously against each other and having no skills whatsoever except for the dubious distinction of being able to cram ten untruths into a single campaign promise. “Caps” anyone???

Those who do not become legislators or governors or mayors etc.(and immediately proceed to expose themselves every which way) will lead revivalist religious movements or start splinter political groups dedicated to giving them something to lead so Ms. Thing  their “gifted and talented” pre-kindergarten  class teacher  will be proud of them.

They will then be caught with a “rent boy” or someone else’s wife and go into rehab-where they will be told that they threw away their promising lives as “gifted and talented” leaders BUT will emerge cleansed to become “gifted and talented” talking heads on cable news.

….so I beseech teachers to temper their enthusiasm for nurturing children’s “leadership” potential and deliver stern advice instead… like staying out of airport rest rooms; keeping your paws off interns, altar boys and public money; and actually doing something constructive for society…like your job, Mr./Ms. legislator, banker, priest, CEO…YOUR JOB!…

May 27, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:25 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:10 pm

        ALBANY IS A SOUK…A BAZAAR… a MARKET PLACE…Thursday, May 27, 2010

…BUYING & SELLING…HAWKING &TRADINGadvising & instigating…GIVING &GETTING…bidding &fighting



If you’re not in Albany in person or –better yet-represented by a lobbyist or a group… FORGET YOU!….out of sight-out of mind.

Of course you ARE represented…The Omnibus Tax Solution Consortium has a presence in Albany –at times some of us- at times all of usbut every day-fighting for working and middle income families’ interests- OUR extraordinary leader and coordinator, Ron Deutsch.

Our presence means we can keep making the case for property tax relief and reform-as part of the larger picture of inequities in taxation in our state and in our country as a whole.

Taxation is necessary to pay for the services a civilized society needs. It’s all well and good to decry government…but after you sober up or put out the funny cigarettes (or maybe just grow up) you sort of realize that it’s nice to have an army, navy and air force… public libraries, police and firemen, public schools, & traffic signs, roads & clean water, a safety net & security& health care in your old age…among MANY other things we prize and deserve.

If you have ever lived in a country where most of these government provided services and safety nets – necessities in a civilized society– were absent , you’d lose the “anti-any kind of government” badass attitude pretty damn quick.

The big problem in NYS is that the middle class pays too much of what it has earned from producing necessary goods and services… and the super- rich pay too little of what they have accumulated by-well-ACCUMULATING.

So cut down the property tax –a middle class killer not based on income-and up the taxes on the accumulated pelf of the sitting pretty- (whose lobbying presence in our state capital dwarfs all others. I’m tired of falling over their well shod feet every time I’m in the halls of the LOB and the capitol bldg.)

At the end of the day there will be winners and losers in Albany. The pillars of our society-working and middle class families-are tired of being the big losers.


So what’s going on right now in Albany?

Well our man Sampson (Senate) is apparently still holding out for property tax reform…I want to believe in him.

BTW…Beware of politicians running for office (aren’t they always?) who have been around Albany since dinosaurs roamed the earth and are now yelling that they won’t raise taxes.

WHICH taxes dude??!!

The one you shifted all your responsibilities to-the ruinous property tax???? Thereby raising middle income taxes by about 60% in the last five years…

…or the ones that were LOWERED at the same time for your buddies, the pirates of Wall ST.??

If the politician doesn’t know that all taxes aren’t equal in fairness…then he’s too dumb to elect.

If he knows but is trying to obfuscate…then he’s too dishonest to elect.

Once again…WHICH TAXES, DUDE??


The Governor is opening and closing parks at a rate that is faster than the race horses belonging to the multi- millionaires in the NAT’L. RACING ASSOC. to whom Albany has just “loaned” 25 million of taxpayer money to ensure that the racing season goes on because -well-the racing season must go on…at a time when we are closing parks-oops, we just opened them again…

…And Speaker Silver doesn’t like the Wall Street bonus tax but does like an increase on the Personal Income Tax of the BIG BOYS –no, you aren’t one of them, kid,  so stop crying– which reminds me of a comment I got from a Tea Party guy.

He said,”Sure,Silver’s  starting on the people who make a million a year but then he’ll start raising taxes on me.”K

” Honey, you make 45,000 in a VERY good year! You got a long way to go! Shut up and put out the weed.”

So maybe we’ll get a billion from this tax…it isn’t enough…but I’ll forgive the Speaker if he earmarks the billion for property tax relief and reform.

…and the soon-to-be Governor, Andrew Cuomo (I can see the white smoke coming out of the chimney as I write) has issued a 243(?) page book of campaign promises…among for the OMNIBUS property tax BILLS….Don’t start cheering…if-big if- everything else goes right in the state first- then maybe our circuit breaker  kicks in to save the middle class from dissolution… (Immediately after N. Korea hosts the Olympic games).

As for drinking your junky drink…it’s your funeral but at least you won’t have to pay more for the sugar high…so far..

…and now the ACTION to watch…

Assemblyman O’Donnell is asking legislators for a marginal tax rate increase on million a year earners…similar to one that just passed in NJ. (higher than what O’Donnell is proposing).

Sen. Dean Skelos-speaking for the Republican caucus- dismissed the idea of upping the tax on million a year earners to pay for property tax reform.L

Ron Deutsch’s response to Skelos (below) is state of the art…Ron is also one of two men in the capital who knows what the hell a “quintile” is…J

ron deutsch

Skelos voted for a similar tax increase on the wealthy in 2003. Not only did he vote for it – he voted to override Governor Pataki’s veto of it. Short memory Senator. It was a good plan in 2003 – it is a good plan now!
The wealthy do not pay their fair share…even with the surcharge they will pay less that the middle 3 quintiles as a percentage of income. Do the wealthy pay a large portion of the states income taxes – yes- only because they control all of the wealth. We need to completely rethink the way we tax in NYS and ask those with the most means to step up to the plate and help bail us out. Many of them just got bailed out by we the tax payers and they are laughing all the way to their incredibly profitable banks. People like FU Dicker should also stop the “rich will flee” mantra and realize that literally half of those that will pay this tax already live in NJ and Conn. They pay NYS income taxes because this is where they make their money. They will not flee to Delaware cause they won’t make their millions there.


May 25, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:19 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:02 pm


Omnibus ( in this case Ron, Robert who can smash caps to smithereens in two seconds, and I) traveled to White Plains last night intending to enlighten an activist group on our Omnibus Property tax Bill in the legislature and instead learned more than we taught.

When Rachel (see flyer of the meeting below) greeted us with these words…We (Westchester for Change) educate and then we advocate. We worked for Obama; we have been involved in health care reform; and now we want to learn about your work because I feel it has ramifications beyond property tax relief-as important as that is…I knew this evening was different.

I have paraphrased. Feel free to correct me, Rachel .

In fact I’d love some input from you and your members for the blog!


(OOPS! I apologize by the way for that bit about my resistance to religious tax exempts while I was in a Methodist Church which has a thriving community of “do-gooders”J, a great Martin Luther King library, and a thirst for social justice.

Let me make clear when I rail against “spiritual” tax exempts I’m talking about acres and acres of  “holy” land belonging to so-called religious groups who are manufacturing; farming in competition with taxpaying farms ; building motels; and acquiring wealth without paying property taxes…. That’s not you, Methodist Church! You guys are what the tax exemption was meant to be for.)

ANYWAY…with Rachel’s intro…

That’s when the epiphany began. In my mind there were a lot of isolated facts about the recession, Wall Street’s debt to Main Street, the resistance of politicians to reform of the prop. tax, the resistance to our work on property tax reform by Wall Street and the think tanks that are their mouthpieces, their insistence on bogus “caps.

By the end of the evening it all came together because of the dynamics of this well informed and activist group.

The entire crisis in our country cannot be resolved until some balance is restored in the matter of who benefits from our country’s great wealth and resources and who pays for it all.

The resistance we tax reformers are meeting is from the billionaires and their political allies.

Reform of property taxes would begin to restore that balance by shifting SOME of the costs of services to that favored 1% who are reaping all the benefits and paying little in taxes in relation to their income.  

I repeat prop. taxes are NOT based on income.

BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE shift those costs from the beleaguered middle class which is being ruined by insane property taxes and a Wall Street induced recession.

Back to Westchester:

We started the evening by NOT understanding that Rachel’s gathering was NOT made up of “civiliansJ”.  

These are informed, experienced advocates for social causes. That became apparent when-after hearing something about caps and taxes- the questions showed that the people in attendance knew plenty and wanted more..Like “How does the property tax relief issue fit into the nation’s current agony?”

That’s why-from our exchange- no longer a lecture- I came away re-invigorated.

Not a single person thought that ‘any government at all’ was the enemy; that teachers, police officers, or kids were villains; that all taxes were equal; that “ caps’ had some validity; or that Wall street would leave for Kentucky if pressed to pay a little of their windfall profits for the benefit of stabilizing the economy. Not one!

We are grateful for the invitation and enlightened by the discussion and energized by the fresh insights. 

Here are the major insights:

The Property Tax Relief and Reform battle we are waging has important national implications.

Omnibus has as our resident genius, Frank Mauro, who is the guru of government and the last word on all things fiscal and financial…the time and the man are fortuitously in synch.

..and that Ron Deutsch who -in his leadership of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness AND the Omnibus Tax Solution Consortium combines in his person the most complete knowledge of the tax equity crisis and the best means to resolve it! .

(Now if we could just force him to postpone his trips to dangerous places in our tormented world in order to build orphanages -in his “spare” time –at least until the property tax crisis is over- we’d all breathe easier…and yes, I’m selfish that way.)

Towards the end of the evening in White Plains –an infuriatingly modest Ron- was entreated to produce his budget solutions-.

This is the BIG  “Where is the money coming from to begin to restore tax equity and services?” question

This enlightened group was waiting patiently for the answer to this question.

It was a splendid moment to see it all coming together. Thanks Ron, next time don’t hold back!!

Every pol in Albany has Ron’s document and it’s time for them to put up or shut up. (I’ll blog the list.)

 The politicians -who know Ron is key to the number one priority in the state- the intertwined issues of restoring services and shifting the costs away from the devastated middle class- need to just DO IT!

We have been supporting everything a civilized society needs-schools, safety nets, transportation, health care, – while the super-rich have been gaming the system (billions in unearned “profits”!!) and not paying even an approximation of their share.

If I sound like a Marxist you’re not paying attention.

For capitalism to survive (which I fervently hope) there really need to be workers and a thriving middle class…DUH!!

 That’s our mission and we welcome the exchange last night with –my new best friends- Westchester for Change. It was fun guys. 


Property Tax Reform:


Short Term Relief & Long Term Solutions


What:    Join Westchester for Change for a discussion of

              short-term and long-term solutions for making 

              our state tax system more equitable.


When:     Monday, May 24th at 7pm


Where:    Memorial United Methodist Church

                           250 Bryant Avenue White Plains, NY 10605


Speaker:   Ron Deutsch, Coordinator, Omnibus   

                 Consortium, a coalition working on 

                 Developing a fair and equitable solution to

                 the property tax crisis in New York State.


For more information contact Rachel Estroff at

914-834-8482 or


To read more about the work of The Omnibus Consortium or New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, please visit them at: and

And now some bits and pieces that will give you a laugh….

… coming from an anonymous savant in the Governor’s communication office (I wish it were the Gov. himself) a published (faux) report that a Wall Street company (much in the news of late) was going to furlough itself for a few days and thereby capture billions to restore services and pay for property tax reform….and no, it wasn’t a Consortium member though the message was ours…Wall street must pay to help main Street ….

The message purported to come from one Mr. Mammon…good one whoever you are.

……………….and …………..


Upon the release of news that a property tax (BOO!!) was going to be instituted, the Shanghai markets immediately lost an ESS LOAD of value…check it out..

How come the brokers in Shanghai get it that insanely structured (is there another kind?) property taxes are lousy for the economy??

…and how come the WSJ immediately panicked and started saying that “CAPS” “CAPS” were the answer to any situation (world hunger??) anywhere in the world?

Is it because the Shanghai crash seems to imply that property taxes may be a really stupid way to raise revenue for services and even the markets might prefer some other taxes…like an increase in income taxes on the super rich or maybe closing some of those huge corporate loop holes…or…but you get it …that’s the WSJ’s (and the think tanks they own) worst nightmare!!

…and much to the surprise of legislators they were lobbying last week, it was our own brilliant John Whiteley and Robert McKeon (Omnibus members)- representing the cause of property tax relief – who demolished the budget ‘CAP” idea with their intellectual prowess…two smart dudes.

Imagine that. The most intelligent and informed people who have been advocating for property tax relief and reform for years (Pro Bono-out of pocket) know that CAPS are a bogus, cynical, cheap  attempt to gull beleaguered property taxpayers. We wouldn’t see our taxes go down a penny if budget “caps” are the pols answer to the mess. What a surprise!!




May 19, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:45 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:24 pm

About that school budget vote….


Even though under a court order to provide “…a sound basic education for each child…)-

When Albany unilaterally cuts its share of funding of schools and ALL services as it does every year and especially this year….

Property taxpayers give their all…above and beyond what we can possibly afford…

Giving 30 and 40% AND MORE of our income to keep children in school and teachers teaching….

DON’T anyone use this selfless show of responsibility to our communities and children to say that taxpayers must NOT be suffering because they vote for school budgets…

Not in my vicinity….because I will definitely be all up in your face, Mr. Politician…..

Albany’s response to the property tax crisis is to say, “WE’VE GOT OURS AND THE HELL WITH YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR COMMUNITIES.”

Homeowners and renters-some of whom didn’t understand and some who did understand that a 1% budget increase might mean a 7% increase on their own tax bill- nevertheless were loathe to throw the children under the bus.

Albany freeloaders have no such compunctions.

They give nothing and they get all sanctimonious about it to boot.

Those who voted “no” and those who voted “yes’ please remember who put you in this terrible position-forced you to squeeze your last penny- to go without every little luxury- to wonder how you’ll ever manage the next tax bill…it was Albany!

Not the children, not the teachers, not the sick, not the poor…but the big butt legislators living in their bubble on your money.

Remember the politicians-surprisingly Cuomo among them– whose answer to your pain is a ridiculous budget cap that will not save you a single dime on your bill and will not cut a single dollar from it now or ever.

Pablum…hot air…empty promises…sophistry.

..and remember that Albany failed DISMALLY in the only job they have which is to pay for necessary services with our money …remember that Albany closed the parks…that  Albany favored voting blocs with tax exemptions and gifts…that  Albany gave incentives to the robber Barons of Wall St. and fired workers …that Albany swanned around with legions of bodyguards while they cut our security…that  Albany unilaterally decided not to pay for our schools but to give pay raises or perks to themselves…

WHEN ALBANY DEFAULTED ON ITS OATH TO SERVE THE STATE FAITHFULLY…The property taxpaying public stepped up to keep our children in school and our society functioning.

….no matter how we voted…we voted as we did because Albany failed to pay its way…

We voted NO because Albany bled us dry and we were a tax bill away from foreclosure…We voted YES because we felt we had to keep the schools running in spite of Albany- at whatever price to our financial security.

No matter how we voted we will be the people keeping our schools open.

Let’s pat ourselves on the back and kick Albany in its pampered and ever spreading derriere.…


May 18, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:42 am


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 11:38 am


TUESDAY, May 18, 2010

…am waiting for the results of Omnibus meetings with legislators in Albany…and pondering several items in the media.

The NYTimes has been reporting and bemoaning city and state “incentive payouts ” to our old friend Wall Street  and other financial freebooters….billions of taxpayer dollars to keep these billionaires in NY where they enjoy all kinds of tax breaks.

I AGREE!  Billions for these pirates?  A disgrace indeed!

But the NYTimes –paradoxically – isn’t thrilled with a bonus or transfer tax on Wall St. booty to bail out Main Street.

In fact the NYTimes –in its infinite ignorance of the topic-says the state “can’t afford” property tax relief-which the NYTimes hasn’t shown any interest in learning about.

They seem to equate property tax relief with lowering taxes on the wealthiest among us……when it is just the opposite.

 The NYTimes doesn’t know –or doesn’t care- that the property tax is really a working and middle class vampire tax that is bleeding 20,30,40% of our middle class income in order to protect our family homes from tax delinquency foreclosure.

The Times doesn’t know or care that 20% or so of your sky high rent is probably your landlord’s share of the prop. tax passed along.

The NYTimes has never written about the fact that when you lose your family home to tax delinquency -because you lost your job in the recession and the tax isn’t based on income so you have to keep paying the ever greater tariff –your home will be mortgaged and the county will keep the entire profit-not just the delinquent tax amount.

…or maybe it just hasn’t bothered to do the research to find that out.

The NYTimes has excoriated the state Senate for holding up the budget. The Senate is actually holding out to force long overdue property tax relief to stem the tide of tax delinquency foreclosures…..the best thing legislators in Albany have done in a very long time….

some senators are asking the robber barons of Wall Street (those guys who got all the “incentive money” and bail out money) to give back some of their obscene profits and fat bonus money to restore services and reduce taxes on family homes.

But the NYTimes hasn’t covered this story-nor presented the FACTS.

..and by the way- it is reported that the NYTimes was also the recipient of a ton of  our taxpayer dollars ( as some kind of incentive to stay in NY??).

But STILL the NYTimes says the state can’t afford to scale back exorbitant (no limit) taxes on shelter.

All the news that’s fit to print? The NYTimes?  Well versed in the topics they write about? The NYTimes? Liberal? The NYTimes?

Pass the Barf Bag.

..and  I haven’t started on the CONSERVATIVE press coverage of the property tax yet. 

The WSJ turns positively purple with rage when confronted with the necessity to tax Wall St. to help Main St. But we expected that…didn’t we?

Et tu NYTimes.

..and now we hear that one of our senators –who told us getting  federal $$$$ for property tax relief  to  prevent people from losing their homes wasn’t the job of a US senator –has been asking for a million  bucks of federal taxpayer money for  a gated religious community for very dubious undertakings.

We will hear more on that story later…I’m sure.

…not to mention a would be challenger to that same senator has been talking the property tax talk but keeping every property tax dollar of salary and the considerable perks provided by property tax dollars for his government job. Not too much shared sacrifice, eh?

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