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Local governments get tad more wiggle room under 2018 tax cap

ALBANY — The property-tax cap for counties, towns and other local governments will rise 1.84 percent next year, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced Friday, a mildly higher rate of growth than in previous years.

In 2017, the allowable growth rate in local government tax levies was 0.68 percent.

“After two years of tax growth being limited to less than one percent, inflation has crept up, resulting in the highest allowable levy growth since 2013,” DiNapoli said. “This increase is offset by rising fixed costs and limited budget options. I continue to urge local officials to exercise caution when crafting their spending plans.”

Adopted by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers in 2011, the property-tax cap mandates that school districts, town boards, county boards and other local governments keep the growth of their tax levies at 2 percent or the rate of inflation — whichever is lower. But the cap can be overridden by a 60 percent “supermajority” vote. There are some exceptions that exclude some local-government spending from counting against the cap.

The new rate will apply in 2018 to all counties, towns and fire districts, as well as 44 cities and 10 villages, DiNapoli, a Democrat, noted.

School districts operate under the same cap, though the rates are set at different times than for local governments. For the 2017-18 academic year, which began July 1, schools are abiding by a 1.26 percent cap in growth.

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