June 16, 2008

Dunne and Republican Legislators Propose New Property Tax Stabilization Plan

Nassau County Legislator Dennis Dunne joined with his fellow Republican Legislators to announce their new plan to shield Nassau County residents from out-of-control property tax increases.  The  “Stabilization Plan” seeks to take a five year hiatus from rising property taxes and return fiscal predictability to households.

As the Long Island housing market skyrocketed over the past few years, so did most residents’ property values.  Now, as the housing market plunges, somehow the property taxes are not following suit.  The plan seeks to halt the yearly increases in home assessments for five years and apply only decreases to assessed values on homeowners’ tax bills. 

“The new Stabilization Plan will stop increases in assessment for five year, while allowing for decreases as the market corrects itself.  Residents’ property assessment will not increase during the stabilization period.  This will be a welcome break from the soaring  increases we’ve witnessed since yearly reassessment began in 2001,” said Legislator Dunne.  Once the five year stabilization period ends, rises in property assessments, if any, shall be limited to the state-mandated level of 6%.         

Though the county does not control school taxes, the county’s rate of assessment is linked to how school taxes are calculated.  “Once this Stabilization Plan takes effect, county property assessments will be steadied and school taxes will become predictable again,” said Legislator Dunne.  For example, if a 5% school budget was approved, residents may have seen a greater than 5% increase on their school tax bill once they received their tax bills.  This is because an increase in the home’s property assessment done by the County Assessor’s Office between the school budget vote and the calculation of taxes disproportionately alters the percentage of the increase.  “The process has become overly complicated and it has confused residents.  The new Stabilization Plan will return predictability back to the calculation of school taxes by stabilizing assessments,” said Legislator Dunne.  In addition, the constant reassessment also had the unintended consequence of shifting a greater portion of the tax burden off of commercial property onto residential property. 

The Republican Legislators have made previous attempts to introduce tax relief legislation, including a Tax Freeze introduced in March of 2007 and gasoline tax cuts introduced in 2007 and 2008.  They also presented a petition to the Legislature signed by more than 45,000 Nassau County residents seeking to hold hearings on the property tax freeze.  The Legislature’s Democrat Majority has consistently shut out all tax cuts and continues to search for additional revenue sources to keep spending more of your money.  “The cost of living is increasing faster than our incomes.  If residents have to cut their spending then the county should, too.  I believe there is enough room in the county’s budget to accommodate this plan.  Something must be done to provide relief to the hard-working residents of Nassau County before it’s too late,” stated Legislator Dunne.

“I am disappointed that the Democrats will not even hold a hearing to discuss the merits of this legislation.  Even if they do not support this plan, I urge them to submit their own proposal to reduce taxes.  I would certainly support any tax relief for Nassau County,” said Legislator Dunne.