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Villages and School Districts Will Struggle to Stay Under Property Tax Cap in ’16

Local News

With the state property tax cap approaching zero villages and school, districts may be forced to override the tax cap in 2016.

The State Comptrollers Office says village tax levies will be limited to a .12% increase next year or less than one percent. School Districts are facing no increase in the tax cap, which means their budgets will have to be flat or include cuts.

The state property tax cap limits local government growth in property taxes to 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Low inflation is a win for consumers and business but is causing headaches for local leaders.

In the Village of Homer Mayor Genevieve Suits says she isn’t sure how the village can bring in a budget under the cap next year. Higher costs like health insurance will increase village spending.

Suits says she will advocate that the village bust the cap next year in order to maintain services.

While the state has hamstrung municipal governments ability to raise taxes, state aide to city, towns and villages has not gone up since 2008.

Homer Schools Superintendent Nancy Ruscio says the flat tax cap is an issue for schools too. Ruscio is already looking for options in light of flat tax revenues in 2016. Ruscio says because the district went out with a budget this year that was under the tax cap there is some revenue available. In addition, Ruscio is hopeful the state will fully restore aid that was cut back in 2010.

Education advocates are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to change the tax-cap law by making it strictly a 2 percent cap, but so far state lawmakers have shown little interest.

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