End the property tax nightmare!

March 27, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:34 pm


March 26, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:41 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:37 pm


THIS IS IT… as mentioned in a previous blog posting, this is  THE BONACIC circuit breaker BILL we need to support NOW!… we were waiting for this summary to blog for you…. It was sent hot off the presses by Rich Wray a tax reform member of the network….

The Omnibus Consortium supports this Omnibus circuit breaker Bill.

Sat. Mar. 26, 2011 .

Thanks Rich.

Memo BILL NUMBER: S4171 TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the tax law, in relation to personal income tax; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the real property tax circuit breaker account and the education financing account; and directing the commissioner of taxation and finance to adjust certain withholding tables and methods PURPOSE: To enact a fair and responsible measure to control and reduce property taxes for New Yorkers. SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Provides for a “circuit breaker” for taxpayers earning up to $250,000 per year who pay a disproportionate share of their income in property taxes. New Yorkers would receive a credit on their 2012 income taxes depending on their income level and the percentage of property taxes they pay as a portion of their income. The tax credit would consist of 70% of any amount paid in property taxes beyond the percentages and income levels are noted below: HOUSEHOLD GROSS INCOME MAXIMUM REAL PROPERTY TAX $100,000 or Less 6% of Household Gross Income $100,000 – $150,000 6% of $100,000 Plus 7% of up to the Next $50,000 $150,000 – $250,000 6% of $100,000 Plus 7% of $50,000 Plus 8.5% of Household Gross Income Above $150,000. Provides for the revenue to pay for the circuit breaker portion of this legislation, by maintaining the current income tax rate for those earning $1 million of more, for the calendar years 2012 and 2013. Provides that the revenue derived from the difference between the 2008 income tax rate for those earning over $1 million, and the 2012/2013 rate, would be deposited into two dedicated funds. The first would be used to pay for the circuit breaker tax credit; and the second would be for education. EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: The legislation maintains the 2011 income tax rate for those earning $1 million or more through 2013 and provides a dedicated source of revenue to fund property tax relief. The legislation would also establish two dedicated funds under the State Finance Law (for property tax relief and school aid). JUSTIFICATION: Depending on which study one were to believe, New Yorkers pay the first or second highest tax burden of any State in the nation. The Public Policy Institute of New York State found New Yorkers paid $2.3 billion more in property taxes in 2010, than in 2009. A report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, issued in March, 2011, indicates that suburban counties in New York, have the highest foreclo- sure rates in the State. Property tax relief is important for New York’s middle class in every part of the State. In areas of high unemployment, the issue is an even greater concern. Property taxes are too high, and are not rationally related to income. A family’s property tax bill can easily be 25% of their mortgage payment, often times a much higher percentage. In these recessionary times, the government must make choices of tax fairness in order to keep middle class New Yorkers in the State and financially viable as long-term residents of New York. In the property tax system, there is no “check and balance” system to account for job losses or other downtowns in personal income. As a result, during even a short term financial crisis, struggling middle class families may be forced to sell their lifetime’s biggest investment – their home. The decision this legislation proposes to make, would assist millions of middle class families, with long term property tax relief. The middle class tax relief would be funded initially, while the economy is recovering, by continuing the 2011 income tax rates, solely for persons who earn more than $1 million, for two years, while the economy is struggling to recover. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New legislation. FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The fiscal implications of the circuit breaker legislation are estimated not to exceed $2.3 billion. The revenue derived by the State by maintaining the current income tax rate, on those earning more than $1 million, would equal an estimated $3.362 billion. EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately. S4171-2011


March 25, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:16 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:15 pm



Friday, March 25, 2011

BRIEF NOTES FROM A FORUM ON PROPERTY TAX REFORM… WHAT, YOU WERE EXPECTING AN EVENING AT A DANCE CLUB??  Some of us relax from the chore of beating our heads against the Albany brick wall by going to hear intellectual discussions about income inequality and bask in the genius of Frank Mauro the guru of the reform movement. Great stuff!

We also heard details of Kevin Cahill’s bill on shifting funding from the heinous property tax to the income tax….a beautiful, meaningful reform bill that will languish forever in the vault in Albany where great ideas go to die.

UH OH! I refuse to get furious and I can feel my gorge rising at the mention of Albany …this was my night out so let me get back to the fun we had at this forum.

Gerry Benjamin was a witty participant…you’ll hear the details in your local paper…I just want to talk about the social aspects and the riotous times we tax reformers have when we let our hair down.

We had eight members of the Taxnightmare C.C. in attendance, always a pleasure to have –in one room-the energy of so many nutty good guys willing to give up living to pursue reform and save the middle class in the face of a rich man’s DINO GOVERNOR AND A LAZY feckless LEGISLATURE…UH OH! I feel the rage again!

Back to the fun part, guys..

You may be puzzled at the cartoon today…that was my version of a tax reform savvy guy who was turning heads in the audience and stopped to say HI to Bru and I…not only was the guy, JV, an Adonis (Zee’s word) who quickly informed us he was married, but was charming and smart and totally a good reason for you all to join the movement. I offer you this inducement if reducing property taxes and saving the middle class doesn’t turn you on…the men of property tax reform are beyond belief macho and beautiful in the best sense of the word.

The fact that this male paragon praised my letters to the editor had nothing to do with my assessment of him. To you scoffers out there letters to the editor are an underrated genre. I have it on the best authority (a tax reform bartender in Key West) that Hemingway’s rough draft of Snows of Kilimanjaro appeared first in a letter to the editor of the Havana Tiempo Union.

…give me a moment to take my meds….

Another encounter was with JC a dedicated , knowledgeable activist who has fought many wars…some of them real ones like WWII and Korea… and is still going strong to try to correct the wrongs in society….he called this A.M. and offered his help. Thanks JC.

SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING SITTING THERE…Get out and tell Albany (OOPS…that place…more meds needed) what you think about that cockamamie Cuomo budget…written of –for-and  by the richest scammers in the country –The Comm. to “Save” duh NY-

Which reminds me…a young family man nailed the CSNY referring to his situation and to the disparity in income growing daily in the USA…If he reads this get in touch. I want a blog posting from you. You were eloquent.

Also Steve G.-who never fails to entertain me with his wit and novel way of limning the scene …said-memorably- although all taxes are income taxes, he didn’t have a pile of gold in his basement…a poetic way of slamming the prop. tax as massively unfair..

Also in attendance was Taxnightmare C.C. Lydia A. who is finishing up her book and will then be back lobbying…pictures of Lydia appear in the montage in the logo…Lydia often lobbied with us before she had to take a bit of creative leave to make some money to pay her ^%$#@** property taxes…

To end the evening I finally met the talented Dave D. who in addition to his other virtues is the last person standing who has-and wears- a vintage Taxnightmare T shirt!!!

At one time they were a staple in the blog store (automatically put on “cause” blogs) which I knew nothing about until-quite by chance I discovered we were hawking thongs that read “End the Taxnightmare” on the crotch!!

…the efficacy of this selection amazed me since presumably not many people would see it and the ones who did-in erotically charged situations- would certainly experience an immediate fear of intimacy with the crotch in question.

The virtual store was shut down when I found it on the blog because we do not collect money nor sell items.

However, if like Dave D. you have a vintage Taxnightmare T shirt hold on to it. When we win this fight it will be extremely valuable…

If-on the other hand- you have the rare Taxnightmare thong call me and I’ll buy it from you. I’m trying to take them out of circulation…or maybe notJ

Enough R&R…back to work…


March 24, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:19 am


March 23, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 8:51 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 8:40 pm



The good guys…the bad guys…the ones we’re waiting to step up to the plate.


It’s important to know daily what’s going on in the Albany Swamp…who’s moving the issue of tax equity in the right direction…towards a better NYS…towards preserving our services and our standing as the world capital.

NYS has a reputation as a generous, vital, cultured, exciting, beautiful state with a diverse and vibrant population. This is where it’s all happening. We have it all to lose if the bad guys win.

The bad guys you already know; many (not all) the Wall Street crowd that caused the nation to lose millions of jobs and its confidence in the financial system…the recession caused by recklessness and greed cast a pall over our democratic system itself.

Subsequent behavior by the self-same scammers has been no better.

 The Committee to “Save” NY (a creature of Cuomo and BIG banks,  BIG businesses, and BIG corporations) has been fighting our tax reform initiative; doing a snow job on our  pusillanimous legislators ; and has helped finance the governor’s push for tax cuts for the wealthiest people in this state??!!-and many living out of the state but making their millions here??!! Not to mention AGAIN that New Jersey will get about 350,000,000 and Connecticut a goodly sum also if we give millionaires a tax cut. ( detailed in a previous blog…pay attentionJ)

The GOOD GUYS are first and foremost Frank Mauro (FPI) the master of the numbers who is the “Go to Guy” – the fact master and lie buster – he gives us the ammo we need to throw back in the faces of the truth challenged greed machine.

The facts are irrefutable. There is a HUGE disparity in wealth and assets between the uber-rich and everyone else- a widening gap which is most in evidence in NYS…and our tax policy contributes to this gap.   SAD BUT TRUE.

The movement to restore our pride in NYS and our singular place as capital of the world has many thousands of advocates-but if we have to pick a single leader who is the sine qua non of the struggle in Albany – who brings all of us reformers together- whose word  is trusted by the good guys and the most active good government organizations- that would have to be Ron Deutsch (NYFF), multi- talented, multi-tasker, unimpeachable in character and the orchestrator of the forward movement for equity…not stridently …and sometimes from behind the scenes….but always the leader, acknowledged by those of us who have no other ambition than to save-REALLY SAVE NY.    

        —and a major impact man…

At present keep your eye on Senator John Bonacic who has stepped out in front of the pack –ALONE AND DETERMINED_and introduced a bill NOT to give a 5 billion tax break to millionaires but to give that money to provide property tax relief -a BIG circuit breaker -and restoration of education services…in dedicated funds…in a lock boxnot to be given to state government to squander or to give tax breaks to the already privileged.

It’s important to make clear to his republican conference and democrats in the Senate that we support Sen Bonacic wholeheartedly.

Voters prize action and initiative like John Bonacic’s and –frankly- deplore sheep-like and concretized legislators…

Urge your senator to support Bonacic’s efforts on behalf of all of us.

More on the good guys and the bad guys later…

Keep tuned.


March 22, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:41 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:28 pm


  Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s weekly blog on March11, entitled: “Extension of ‘Success Tax’ Would Destroy Jobs, Drive Away Even More of  NYS’s Best and Brightest”, appears on the Central New York website

 Most outrageous of all the utter nonsense in this piece is Leader Kolb’s use of the term “Success Tax” to characterize the proposed extension of the “millionaires tax” on taxable incomes actually exceeding $1Million.

(By the way that’s TAXABLE income — not gross income or AGI  which could be much higher.)

Apparently the other 99.6% of us, those who don’t make $1 Million, comprise  “The Unsuccessful” — or, maybe, “The Failures”. 

 That must be why so many of them are being forced from their homes by having to pay unsustainable, double digit percentages of their incomes in property tax — as much as 40% and more — created largely by state taxation and fiscal policies.

 The imagery behind the term “success tax”  is reminiscent of the extreme right wing rhetoric that portrays any effort to restore even the slightest semblance of  progressive tax policy in this state as “redistributing the wealth” of “hard working” New Yorkers.

As if the only people who “work hard” in this state (and nation) are those whose “hard work” has produced major financial reward!

 Thankfully, not everyone defines success solely in terms of one’s income.

Leader Kolb’s unfortunate use of the term “success tax”, along  with the rest of his tiresome rhetoric, is an insult to the millions of “hard working” middle class New Yorkers who in countless ways keep this state running, day in and day out, who contribute enormously to every aspect of our culture, our values and our economy, and who in so doing help create and preserve the conditions which make possible the financial success and well- being of those at the top of the income ladder.

 Leader Kolb’s own middle class constituents are among those hundreds of thousands of “hard working” or retired residents all over our state who are suffering a nearly $1.8 Billion property tax increase just from the state’s continuing failure to replace cuts of that amount in the STAR  program over the past two years with a desperately needed property tax circuit breaker.

  An extension of the “millionaires tax” would among other things enable the state to mitigate the cuts in property tax relief by establishing a meaningful circuit breaker as well as to restore cuts in state aid to schools.

Those measures would benefit primarily the middle class.

 Instead, Leader Kolb wants a tax cut for those with $1 Million incomes — in the midst of the fiscal crisis for which the wealthy were largely responsible but which continues to devastate mainly the middle class.

He should be ashamed of himself.

 John Whiteley
 Legislative Affairs Officer,
 NYS Property Tax Reform Coalition
 Member, Omnibus Consortium

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