End the property tax nightmare!

November 21, 2009

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:43 am


“ The Property Tax is just one thing in competition for funds in the governor’s budget with a lot of other things.”…..NOT SO!!  

That is a facile, disingenuous, and frankly ignorant description (by someone who ought to have known better) of the struggle to address this confiscatory tax.

Delivery of public services is of paramount importance and Albany has not done this job with any notable precision, acumen, or transparency.

However there is no reason but political chicanery to pit the funding of services against the reform of a tax which infringes the rights of citizens.

These two worthwhile pursuits do not inhabit the same space.

They must both be addressed-but not in competition with each other.

Services and the property tax issue intersect at this moment in time because the state has been shifting its responsibility for funding services onto this very dubious way of raising the funds.

The burden of the property tax on working and middle class families has risen astronomically, but the escalating amount of the tax is not the whole problem with it.


The state MAY NOT enter the house of a law abiding citizen and take it at will. That is too obvious to dispute.

By the same token, how can government entities raise unlimited amounts of money by taxation of the putative value of homes-without regard to the income of the owners and by using dubious and unacceptable determinants to assess that value– and then take those homes(and all the equityover and above the tax -that remains in them) when the money demanded is beyond the reach of the owner?

Yet this is the contour of the property tax as it is practiced.

All the decision makers cannot be ignorant of the considerable body of information attacking the tax; so one must assume that they do not want to deal -during their tenure in office- with the larger issues of taxation, equity, justice, and the rights of citizens – nor are most of them rushing to protect citizens from the financial ruin brought on by state government’s neglect of the property tax crisis..

It has seemed much simpler for lawmakers to dole out some small relief to try and shut the public up.

That tactic  has stopped working..and we at Taxnightmare have repeatedly made that clear.

Eventually the ever escalating number of court cases testing the legality of various aspects of the property tax will bring changes. They will be sudden, unplanned, and episodic changes forced upon a state government wholly unprepared to deal with them. Meanwhile there is misery.

The Omnibus Solution delivers relief and also -simultaneously – plans for orderly reform and the restoration of legitimacy to the property tax. The state should grab the chance to restore order and equity to our system of taxation.

If Albany can’t manage the basic job of protecting the rights of citizens-or restoring those rights when necessary- then it doesn’t matter what else Albany does; it has failed.

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