Keep tax cap on New York

The New York state tax-levy cap is an example of a government policy that may not solve a problem, but is an improvement over the way things used to be.

With that in mind, we think state politicians should vote to make the tax cap permanent.

The tax cap, which took effect in 2012, ideally limits local government and school district tax-levy increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

However, it has by no means been a perfect way to restrain the growth of property taxes, which make up a substantial portion of most tax levies.

The cap often is higher than 2 percent because the actual cap is adjusted based on a formula. In some cases, elected representatives – such as at the county level – can also vote to override the cap, and have.

But focusing on the imperfections of the tax cap can cause people to miss the overall good it has done.

As the Albany-based nonprofit Empire Center for Public Policy noted, since the cap took effect in 2012, school tax levies have risen by an average of only 2.2 percent annually, which is the lowest in any four-year period since 1982.

That’s an especially important point because for many taxpayers in New York state, their biggest property-tax bill pays for their local school district.

The tax cap is set to expire in June 2016.

We were glad to see the state Senate recently passed a bill, co-sponsored by Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, to make the tax cap permanent.

Let’s hope the Assembly approves a measure to make sure the tax cap remains fitted to one of the most overtaxed states in the nation.