DiNapoli: Tax Cap Will be 3/4 of a percent in 2016 school and city budget planning

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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Office of Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller. July 21, 2015:

Property tax growth for local governments will be capped at less than one percent for the 2016 fiscal year, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report noted the allowable tax levy growth factor will be 0.73 percent for entities that operate on a calendar-based fiscal year – which includes all counties, towns, fire districts, 44 cities and 10 villages.

“Local government officials need to brace for the lowest growth in their property tax revenue in the tax cap era,” said DiNapoli. “Municipalities may have to operate differently under these new limits. Even tougher budget choices may be required on staffing levels, delivery of services, fund balance reductions, and deferral of capital and infrastructure projects. And if inflation trends continue, it is possible that some local governments with fiscal years beginning later in 2016, including school districts, could be faced with zero growth in property tax revenue.”

The tax cap, which first applied to local governments beginning in 2012, limits tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or 2 percent with some exceptions, including a provision that allows municipalities to override the cap.

DiNapoli estimates that next year more than 1,800 calendar-year local governments will have roughly $88.3 million less in tax levy growth compared to what they had in 2015 when the factor was 1.56 percent and $135.1 million less than they would have had when the factor was at 2 percent as in 2012 and 2013.

The Comptroller also projected that the potential impact of levy restrictions for school districts (which have fiscal years beginning July 1) could range from a loss of $182.7 million, assuming a factor of 0.73 percent, to a loss of $332.6 million, assuming a factor of zero. These ranges are in comparison to the 2015-16 tax levy cap of 1.62 percent.

Read the report, or visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/taxcaptightens0715.pdf

For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 50,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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