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Governor Unveils Property Tax Cut Plan

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Governor Eliot Spitzer releases his first state budget Wednesday. He's promising property tax cuts for middle class families as well as more aid to schools and municipalities.

During last year's gubernatorial campaign, Spitzer promised a $6 billion property tax cut for middle class New Yorkers. Tuesday, he delivered on that promise during an address before a meeting of the State Association of Counties in Albany.

"We will provide significant and immediate tax relief," Spitzer said. "My executive budget will include a three-year, $6 billion property tax cut that targets relief for middle class taxpayers who need it most."

Spitzer said the tax break would expand the state's STAR school tax subsidy program, and would result in an additional savings of $421 for an average middle class taxpayer in Erie County.

Among those listening to Spitzer's address Tuesday was County Executive Joel Giambra. He says he was heartened by Spitzer's words that he will push for an end to "unfunded" mandates on local governments.

"The days of the state downloading costs to local government are over," Giambra said. "He's going to provide additional dollars to urban areas."

But those dollars would come with strings attached. Spitzer says cities would need to develop multi-year performance plans to receive the aid. Giambra said he's prepared to work with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to do just that.

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