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Hats off to cap

June 1, 2011 - John D'Agostino
Last week, a Wall Street Journal editorial hailed the 2.5 percent property tax cap proposal by New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Journal, in backing the proposal, noted that the 15 counties in the U.S. with the highest property tax as a percentage of home value are in the Empire State. These high taxes, the editorial notes, "have increased at an annual rate of 5.4 percent, roughly double inflation."

And while there is a need for the cap, the Journal admits the state must help its school districts and municipalities. "One purpose of the cap is to force local governments and school districts to modify their employee pension and health benefits," the editorial says. "But their ability to alter benefits is limited by state laws such as one that guarantees pay increases in the absence of a contract.

"Mr. Cuomo’s property tax cap is a good start, but municipalities are going to need flexibility from the state and courage to take on the unions to get their biggest cost drivers under control."

And while the cap is not perfect, our area all too often backs tax hikes. Read these two recent "Newsmakers of the month" from the OBSERVER. Is it any wonder Albany really could care less about our region. We choose to live this way.


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