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Checking out rebate checks

Fairport, N.Y. Billed as a near two-billion dollar tax-freeze, new property tax rebates are drawing mixed reviews.

If youre a taxpayer, getting the check is a plus.

Anything we can get back I think is well worth it, said Harold Bean, a Fairport resident of four decades.

The average Monroe County taxpayer could get a $468 rebate check, according to a spokesperson for the governor, if their local governments stay within the states property tax cap.

Critics say the rebates are not a tax break, are contingent upon many factors and are not guaranteed beyond two years.

Its all good and positive said Brian Sampson of Unshackle Upstate, a fiscally conservative pro-business group.

He questioned what the governor and legislature will do to control the primary drivers of local government costsunfunded mandate.

If you dont address the core cost drivers, we are just going to be back in this same place two years down the road, said Sampson.

Rebate checks will go out to taxpayers whose local governments stay within the tax cap in year one. In year two, such governments will not only have to stay within the cap, but save one percent of their tax levy each year for three years, according to the governors office.

The challenge for us is abide by the law and stay under the cap, said Fritz May (R), mayor of the Village of Fairport.

May said the new budget and property tax relief plan adds pressure to cut costs.

Manufacturers received a 20 percent real property tax credit, though other businesses did not get such property tax breaks.

It would have been better if employers could have participated more broadly in property tax relief (in addition to manufacturers), since that group pays the lions share of property taxes in NY and high property taxes impacts New Yorks ability to be competitive with other states, said Chris Wiest, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Rochester Business Alliance.


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Washington Times