End the property tax nightmare!

July 30, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:54 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:52 pm


From a Herald Tribune article writing about the shift of funding from state money to property taxes in Florida comes the following acknowledgment:

“They’ve been decreasing the state dollar amount that goes into education,” Sarasota School Finance Director Al Weidner said of the Legislature. “It’s putting more and more onto the local taxpayer.”

The paper unmasks the state’s bogus claim that they are not raising taxes while the shift is causing property taxes to rise steadily.

So don’t bother to run from NYS property taxes…stay and fight for your home!

We have of course been saying this repeatedly about the sleight of hand in Albany…”Hey, we’re keeping taxes down.”, the pols say.

NOT SO!!! They are cutting services and forcing property taxes to take up the slack. So rents (landlords pass it along) and homeowners’ school taxes are escalating at a devastating rate.

What’s Albany’s answer? Tax levy Caps…or as I call them “DUNCE CAPS”.

SO DON’T call them “property tax caps” because they’re NOT!!! …

THE SMELL TEST will tell you

that the caps the candidates are selling  WON’T save a single penny on your tax bill…they don’t cap your property taxes…

How callous and duplicitous can politicians be? L

They don’t want to fund services so they pass along the cost to homeowners and renters and pretend that “dunce caps” will lower property taxes.

Whatever else caps may do…and they don’t do anything much, at least not anything good… I REPEAT…they will not lower your individual tax bill by a single penny! How shameless candidates and politicians are to scam the public with these empty promises…confabulating their “dunce caps” with true property tax relief or reform.


                    AND maybe  I SPOKE TOO SOON about stopping TAP funds going to religious training schools…

You may remember (okay you don’t) that I said some teeny, tiny good came out of Paterson’s brutal cuts to education (which BTW will eventually end up costing you in elevated property taxes. )

I mentioned that the governor’s generous gift to religious schools was cut at the same time.

Well I read that the Gov. intends to try to remedy those cuts to Kiryas Joel’s rabbinical school and 41 other religious training schools in order to give students in these schools money in TAP funds.

He made the original promise while collecting campaign contributions (when still running for governor) around the time of a visit to KJ.

Hey, I have nothing against training clerics…just not on my dime. While tuition in public colleges is going up and up I do not want to be tithed for private religious clerical training schools.

Maybe the newspaper got the story wrong…it wouldn’t be the first time…Gee, I sure hope so, Governor!!


July 27, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:40 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:22 pm



A HATCHET JOBcutting out ALL OF THEM..THE GOOD…along with the bad…the useless.

…but not the multi -millionaire racing association…..that gets 25 million more.

Sure some member items (pork) are useless and self serving….but a lot are for libraries and children’s services and homeless people…small amounts.

Not –for- profit salaries are typically in the 25,000 range…and these folks deliver a real service especially in these terrible economic times…services the state doesn’t deliver.

Why is it impossible for these galoots in Albany to tell the difference between useless and useful??

Why can’t they make intelligent distinctions among the many items funded by the taxpayers??

 Why are they so ham fisted they hurt good people all the time and reward the con men??

Badly done Gov…badly done…

…and STILL no property tax reform coming from the Governor’s office?!!


Don’t make me laugh.

Dunce should always precede the word caps as promulgated by any politician.

Check out this video…it’s the good guys, Ron and Frank, making sense out of the chaos created by the pols.

Scroll down a couple of interviews to see Frank and Ron  last night on TV


July 25, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:32 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:21 pm



Sunday, July 25, 2010…..

Oneida County has halted Medicaid payments to the state. They haven’t enough cash.

Why is Medicaid coming out of property taxes in the first place? NYS is one of the few where the state passes along half its obligation to counties and therefore to property taxes.

    … And another nasty thing coming our way…

Fracking-mining for natural gas by sending toxic chemicals and water under pressure to fracture the rock in which it is trapped is causing concern in counties sitting on the Marcellus shale-a place rich in natural gas deposits.

Concerned citizens, scientists, and landowners want Albany to pass a moratorium on the practice until its safety can be guaranteed.


Ask the folks in Penn. whose wells are poisoned. Ask the folks who don’t want truck exhausts, polluted air, noise and traffic on their formerly rural roads. Ask them if their safety can ever be guaranteed when fracking is going on next door.

But NYS hasn’t even passed a simple moratorium let alone prohibited the destructive practice.

Albany has yet to acknowledge that ruinous property taxes on land, on farms, on fields drive desperate property owners to consider selling the rights to mine their land in this hideous way.

Chalk up another terrible result of our property tax system.

For your information and entertainment here’s a link for a terrific video on the dangers of hydrofracking starring Pete Seeger with a new song… and Mark Ruffalo (actor, director, producer) taking the lead in the fight to keep fracking away from NYS.. 

Naturally our gal Zee  (Susan Zimet) is a mover and shaker on this issue …fracking, the destruction of the middle class, the expansion of the gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us…property taxes are one of the villains causing these dangerous outcomes.


         …and some comic relief       

In the face of this paralysis in Albany a clutch of superannuated politicians –among them Koch, Giuliani, and Cuomo (père) decided to fix everything.

They issued a surrealistic list of “heroes and enemies” of reform.  

To be a “hero” a politician only had to sign his name on a promise to be a good boy. DUH??

All the galoots and lay–a- bouts who have been around Albany forever, collecting their pay and doing nothing, of course signed on and became instant “heroes”.

Pedro Espada –currently under investigation for multiple breaches of ethics and maybe breaking the law – is now a “hero” by virtue of promising to be a good boy and signing his name. Redemption should be so easy!

Some legislators with whom I’ve worked who genuinely fought for property tax reform and are really good guys are now on the “enemies” of reform list for not rushing to sign on  or kiss the old pols’ rings or whatever.

The Magna Carta this document is not….scrap paper is more like it. What a crock!

         …and hard to believe

If the citizens of a small town of under 40,000 in Calif. wondered why their taxes were so high they had to look no further than three officials who were getting a total of about a million and three quarters in salary for jobs that usually pay about 400 a week. One-the chief administrator was making over 780,000! All three resigned -after protests from citizens.

However they are eligible for high six figure pensions -one will get 650,000 -per year- for life.

I checked this with because I found it hard to believe and I’m aware a lot of garbage goes out as news.

Can’t find it.  Incredible if true.

July 20, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:31 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:29 pm


Representatives of the groups and organizations in the Omnibus Consortium will have a summit meeting in Saratoga in early August.

Log on to for the names of the groups involved. Please add the group Westchester For Change to your list of tax reform groups in the consortium.

We may also be welcoming other stakeholder organizations to the Consortium in the near future.

Any group that joins Omnibus signs on to the mission:

-to pass legislation instituting a circuit breaker for immediate relief (a limit on INDIVIDUAL property tax bills…the real deal) –


-to plan long term reform of the entire property tax structure and the way we fund public services.


These two planks of the mission are non-negotiable.

Our agenda will include summarizing the year in Albany vis-à-vis our work on property tax reform; and planning our future actions…some of which will involve legal action and some of which will involve moving the fight to the federal level.

Forgive my temperate, wimpy language.

I’m thinking ^&%$#@** Albany but that’s not very productive even if it makes me feel better.J

On the other hand I don’t want to fall into “politico- speak” after being subjected to it all year in Albany  as in the politico-speak in black and the reality in red… below


 The recessionwhat was your excuse for the previous twenty years ?? necessitates  difficult choices –Albany makes the choices unilaterally and ignores any citizen input- and shared sacrifice-the taxpayers and workers sacrifice and Albany shares the goodies with their special friends-but the state must balance its budget-on the backs of the middle class-and we refuse to raise taxes –income taxes on the super rich –on already overburdened  New Yorkers-not counting property taxpayers whose taxes have gone up 60% in 5 years –they can go to hell or North Carolina-whichever comes first-so we will cap property taxes at 4%-which won’t happen and doesn’t lower  individual property taxes by a single penny anyway …but Albany continues to insult our intelligence with their – blah blah caps effing blah.

After a year of being subjected to politico –speak it’s hard to communicate like a real human being instead of a zombie or a robot..

So simply put: the Omnibus Consortium will have our summit meeting (I’ll report on it to you .) to plan and build on our work this session.

The workers and middle class families of NYS are NOT expendable. The politicians ARE expendable.  Albany is not the state. We are the state.


July 16, 2010

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:59 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 10:27 pm

DUMB AND DUMBER….. snippets that make you wonder if there is intelligent life in Albany…

Most of the Albany people who should be working on the budget are just not talking to each other….isn’t that DUMB??(notable exception to “DUMB AND DUMBER” is Senate leader Sampson who really deserves credit for at least trying to make it work…at a recent campaign stop in Harlem he met a member of the NYC Omnibus contingent who thanked him for his support of property tax reform-Sampson is a friend of the working and middle class.. )

Then there’s the news that the wealthy Racing Assoc. which got 25 million of our tax money from the Governor-as a loan (ha!) is still in trouble and the horsey Assoc. is still paying huge salaries to the big boys and chalking up big expenses.

 More of the Gov.’s shared sacrifices??

…and then there’s the money-half a million or more from your taxes – to help pay for the Jets to have their summer camp in NYS…don’t you love all the shared sacrifice Albany isn’t sharing in??

When Gov. Paterson vetoed (6900 vetoes so far) the return of 419 million to the education budget, one victim was the tuition assistance he had promised to people training for the clergy…now that’s a good thing – (remember that church/state separation article??)  -but probably not planned…good things aren’t planned in Albany. You have to hope they happen by accident while a politician is doing a bad thing like vetoing school funding.

…and another nasty snippet-Money that was allocated last year but not yet released to groups that probably already spent their cash (we just learned) won’t be coming to them–oops-Albany decided to renege.

That’ll teach those folks who are –for example- helping families and children in trouble, that if they want money from Albany they have to be super-rich sports teams or multi-millionaire race track moguls. What the hell were these do-gooders thinking? Did they  expect Albany to keep its promises??!!!

…and lest you think Albany is the only public entity lacking discernible activity in the frontal lobes there’s the continuing dumb coverage of property tax issues by the “so smart” NYTimes.

The NYTimes thinks it’s doing straight reporting but doesn’t know caps from craps. That really frosts me off because I read the damned paper every day waiting for the bosses to get somebody who understands the property tax issue to report on it. It’s my paper and it stinks on my issue.

The Times has all but ignored this story with major national significance – who pays too little in taxes and who pays too big a share for public services?? – How has the cost of running NYS shifted from progressive taxes like income taxes to regressive taxes (without any relation to income) like the property tax??

Who cops huge chunks of bail- out money from the public trough and who suffers cuts in services while paying 20,30 and 40% of their income in property taxes?

But the NYTimes is oblivious to the interconnectedness of it all.

The Times office in Albany seems to be staffed with folks who would rather be doing the “important” stories on refugees in the middle east or sex and scandal in  North Carolina than reporting on arguably the biggest fight in Albany this session-whether to-and how to- deliver property tax relief and reform..

So uninformed is this paper that its recent coverage of the passage of a 2% “cap” in NJ betrayed total ignorance of what a “cap” of this kind is and what the NJ “cap” in particular covers in terms of property tax relief…leaving the erroneous impression that this trivial piece of legislation would cap or reduce individual property tax bills considerably or reform the property tax itself (NOT!)  Sloppy reporting, kids.

I am waiting for the details of the so-called property tax “cap” in NJ … however a poll just taken in NJ has a majority of folks there already saying the cap is pretty much good for nothing.

…apparently it applies to local and school budgets (Counties? State?) but with most  big ticket items excluded from the provisions and very elastic emergency spending  and lots of confusion about how it will work (or not). ..and it doesn’t start this tax cycle.

There will probably be votes every time someone wants to buy a pencil but no reform of the regressive tax and certainly-as we have said all along- no diminution in ruinous INDIVIDUAL  property tax bills. I’ll report the provisions and the remarks of NJ tax reformers as soon as possible.

Gov. Paterson congratulated NJ on this bogus tax “relief”.

The politicians feel “relieved” not to have to actually grapple with a real solution…nobody else is impressed.

I am reminded of an old Yiddish expression “That helps like suction cups help a dead man.” 


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