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Cuomo pushes plan to extend property cap

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took to the New York City suburbs Wednesday pushing a plan to extend the state’s property tax cap program.

The cap actually does not expire until next year, though it would automatically be extended if lawmakers and Cuomo agree on an unrelated though linked provision involving rent control laws for New York City.

The governor has said he believes the tax cap should be made permanent, though he is not specifically now publicly pushing for anything more than an extension of the law for an undetermined number of years.

To amplify his push, Cuomo released a report Wednesday that claimed New Yorkers, on average, have saved more than $800 in property taxes over the three-year life of the property tax cap program compared to the growth in tax increases that had been seen the previous 10 years.

The per-taxpayer savings are lower in Western New York than the property tax-soaring levels downstate; in the past three years, the cumulative savings per average property taxpayer in Erie County has been $334 and $320 in Niagara County.

Cuomo’s office said that 80 percent of local governments and school districts have enacted property tax hikes that have lived within the two percent annual average growth rate permitted under the cap since its enactment.

The push-back against the tax cap has grown less urgent since localities know lawmakers are as politically invested in the program as the governor. Still, the New York State Association of School Business Officials on Wednesday urged lawmakers to fix “flaws” in the program, suggesting the formula that goes into the annual tax cap levy increase be permitted to take into account such things as school district enrollment growth.

On Long Island Wednesday, Cuomo said he’d like to see the property tax cap law extended for as many years as he can convince lawmakers.