Cuomo ramps up campaign for tax cap

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, with from left, Assembly Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, with from left, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). (March 27, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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ALBANY -- Trying to up the pressure on state legislators, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a few days will begin making pretaped, automated phone calls to Long Island households urging them to tell their representatives to pass a property-tax cap.

In his message, the governor declares, "In Long Island, property taxes are out of control," according to a transcript.

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"In fact, Nassau has the highest property taxes in the nation. It has to stop," Cuomo continues, then explains his proposal to limit tax increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, before concluding:

"Many politicians are against the cap because it limits their power, and they are fiercely lobbying the Albany legislature against it. Contact your state legislators and tell them to pass Governor Cuomo's property tax cap now."

The first-term Democrat has identified the tax cap as one of his three end-of-session priorities, along with tightening ethics laws and legalizing same-sex marriage. Cuomo's tax proposal would limit property-tax increases to a maximum of 2 percent or the rate of inflation, now about 1.5 percent, whichever is less. The only exceptions that would not count against the cap would be payments for capital construction and legal settlements. The cap could be overridden only by a vote of the local governing board and a 60 percent majority in a local referendum.

The GOP-led Senate has passed Cuomo's bill. The Democrat-led Assembly has not taken it up. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has said he'll soon introduce his version of a tax cap that would add exempt costs associated with local economic-development projects and add an expiration date to ensure the issue would have to be revisited in a few years.

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