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Governor to Present Legislation Capping Property Tax Increases

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Governor David Paterson officially received the report of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief Tuesday. And he's accepting most of its recommendations.

The special commission is recommending that property taxes in New York be capped at four percent a year, about half the rate of recent average annual school tax increases. Paterson said he'll introduce a bill in the State Legislature to enact the tax cap.

Paterson said "enough is enough" when it comes to rising property taxes. He said he hopes lawmakers will act by the end of the current session later this month. If they don't, Paterson said he would not rule out bringing them back for a special session later this year.

The chair of the property tax commission, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, rejected arguments that a tax cap would hurt poor school districts the most.

Paterson promised those districts that he would not allow the quality of education their students receive to suffer. He said the state would need to address any funding inequities.

Still, the Democrat-controlled State Assembly and the state's powerful teachers' unions are questioning the cap proposal. The state AFL-CIO says a cap is an ill-conceived concept that does nothing to reduce costs.