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Paterson calls for property tax cap in state budget

New York Governor David Paterson attends a ribbon-cutting

New York Governor David Paterson attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the just-opened first section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. (March 22, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Unearthing a proposal he first issued in 2008, Gov. David A. Paterson Sunday called for state legislators to install a property tax cap as part of their 2010-11 budget plan.

Wednesday is the deadline for Paterson and lawmakers to agree upon the state budget, and while the Senate largely favors the concept of a property tax cap, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver does not.

"We need to get serious about addressing the property tax burden in New York State and this can only be achieved with permanent reform," Paterson said. "I ask the Legislature to take action on my proposal to protect property taxpayers as well."

Paterson first suggested limiting annual property tax increases to 120 percent of the inflation rate or 4 percent, whichever is lower, in June 2008.

He did not include the cap in his initial budget proposal in January.

Speaking on WBEN radio in Buffalo, Paterson Sunday framed the issue in terms of forcing state and local officials to cut costs.

"We think this is something we can provide New Yorkers when we're asking everyone to make sacrifices," he told the station.

The powerful state teachers' unions and some school districts oppose a property tax cap because it could put a crimp in teachers' salaries and limit districts' ability to raise funds.

Paterson and state lawmakers are seeking to close a $9.2-billion gap between state revenues and expected expenditures.

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