Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Tax Whisperer

Why No Hullabaloo Over Special Districts, Double-Dipping, And The Ever-Burgeoning Property Tax?

With the recent final report having been issued by the NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness, the yanking of state pensions for those who have their hands in every pocket, and the findings and recommendations of the NYS Commission On Property Tax Relief due out in a few short weeks, we wonder why -- other than a few stirrings in the media outlets -- there hasn't been much more than murmurs on the street, let alone boisterous calls to action before the state and local legislatures.

Are we missing something?

Is the public so shell shocked and beaten down that they can do little more than shrug at any suggestion that might actually keep more money in their pockets?

Or could it be that we've all been down this road before, with the commissions, studies, recommendations, and promises yielding little in the way of actual relief?

Whatever the underlying cause of our reticence, with but a month or so left in the session for the New York State Legislature -- which, in its entirety, is up for election this fall -- there is scant time to set in motion the wheels that turn recommendations into legislation, and legislation into law.

The talk on the street -- and at community forums, far and wide -- should be centered on how we can put in play the proposals of commissions and comptrollers alike, with a rather loud shout out to the folks in Albany to heed the call or, come November, take the fall.

The time to start making noise -- and lots of it -- on the special district/property tax front is now, lest we maintain our self-destructive silence on these monumental issues, content to "wait 'til next year" (or the year after that) for any real relief.
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Governor David Paterson has proposed omnibus legislation that would adopt some of the recommendations made by the NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness, which includes prohibiting special district commissioners from being compensated for their services, and transfers to town boards most of the managerial responsibilities for the special districts that provide sanitary, refuse, and garbage services.

Commonly known as Program Bill #52, the legislation is multi-sponsored by 64 members of the Senate and 148 members of the Assembly.

Query as to whether this measure has made it out of the catacombs of the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission and into a Senate or Assembly committee, let alone onto any committee's agenda that could -- by the good graces of Senator Bruno and Assemblyman Silver -- move the measure onto the floor for a vote.

Call your State Senator and Assemblymember today, and tell them you support Program Bill #52, and so should they!
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NYS Senate
NYS Assembly
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The NYS Assembly will hold a public hearing -- in Buffalo -- on the Commission's recommendations, this Friday, May 16th.

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