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Castelli: Tax Cap Will Be Boon To Small Business

Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) of the 89th Assembly district, which includes Pound Ridge and Lewisboro, called the new legislation that caps annual property tax increases at 2 percent a shot in the arm for small businesses and homeowners alike.

“The enactment of a property-tax cap is good news for homeowners and small business job creators and represents a historic moment in the fight to reduce the highest property taxes in the United States,” Castelli said. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in helping to pass this important pro-taxpayer legislation and for his efforts in shepherding this bill through the Legislature. This is an important victory for overburdened taxpayers.”

Cuomo signed the property tax cap at the home of Russell and Tara Klein in Pleasantville. Like many taxpayers in Westchester County, the Kleins, who are the parents of four children, have made sacrifices to afford the state's skyrocketing property taxes.

Klein is a small business owner and pays more than $16,000 annually in property taxes, over four times the median property tax bill in New York State.

“We are beginning a new era in which New York will no longer be the tax capital of the nation,” Cuomo said at the bill signing. “For too long New Yorkers across the state have been forced to deal with back-breaking property taxes, and this tax cap will finally bring some relief and help keep families and businesses in New York. This tax cap is a critical step toward New York's economic recovery.”

Taxpayers in Westchester County pay the second highest property taxes in the nation, with a median property tax bill of $8,474 per household. In comparison, the median U.S. property tax bill is $1,917, while in New York the median property tax bill is $3,755.

Under the new law, property tax increases will be capped at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Local communities and local voters could override the cap with a 60 percent vote on the budget for school boards or relevant legislative bodies.

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino called the tax cap “a good first step.”

“I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing tax relief as a priority,” Astorino said. “I look forward to working with his administration to further address the needs of Westchester County residents and business owners.

This cap on property taxes includes safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services for New Yorkers. There will be limited exceptions to the cap, including:

* Judgments or court orders arising out of tort actions that exceed 5 percent of the localities’ levy

* Certain growth in pension costs where the system's average rate increases by more than 2 percentage points from the previous year; the amount of contributions above the 2 percentage points will be excluded from the limit

* Growth in tax levies due to economic development

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