ALBANY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today traveled to Nassau County to sign New York’s first property tax cap. The tax cap, a hallmark of Governor Cuomo’s campaign and a priority of his administration’s first year, will finally deliver relief to millions of homeowners and business owners across the state who for too long have been burdened by out-of-control property taxes.

Governor Cuomo signed the property tax cap at the home of James and Janet Gannon in Lynbrook. Like many taxpayers in Nassau County, the Gannons, parents of four children, have made sacrifices to afford the state’s skyrocketing property taxes. They pay nearly $11,000 annually in property taxes, close to three times the median property tax bill in New York state. Mr. Gannon is a small business owner and Mrs. Gannon is a public school nurse at the Shore Road School. This law will provide meaningful tax relief to the Gannon family and other homeowners across New York.

“For decades, taxpayers across New York state have been burdened by back-breaking property taxes that have crippled businesses and families,” said Governor Cuomo. “It is appropriate to sign this property tax cap at the Gannon household, as millions of homeowners like them have had the deck stacked against them for too long. This tax cap is a critical step toward New York’s economic recovery, and will set our state on a path to prosperity.”

Taxpayers in Nassau County, like the Gannons, pay the highest property taxes in the nation, with a median property tax bill of $8,478 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.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said: “For Nassau residents, a long-overdue property tax cap is among the most important accomplishments of Governor Cuomo’s first 6 months. This plan will put an end to sky-high property tax increases and will help our state get back on the right financial track. I supported the Governor’s tax cap during the campaign, I supported it during the legislative session, and I support it now that it’s about to become law. This is a great moment for Nassau County and for all of New York state.”

New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said: “Enacting a property tax cap was the single biggest accomplishment of this session for millions of homeowners and businesses that are sick and tired of paying the highest taxes in the nation. Senate Republicans heard their concerns, we promised to do everything we could to help and today we are keeping that promise. I applaud Governor Cuomo for joining us in making the property tax cap a priority and for his leadership in getting it done.”

New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine said: “I worked alongside Governor Cuomo over the past months and our first priority has always been the taxpayers of New York. We are tired of seeing businesses and families forced to move out of Nassau County and New York state because of the back breaking property tax burden. Governor Cuomo has shown tremendous leadership in pushing for this property tax cap and with the highest property taxes in the nation, Nassau County taxpayers stand to greatly benefit from this historic legislation. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues to make our state a better place to live and work.”

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

The new law institutes a property tax cap to protect homeowners and businesses from skyrocketing property tax hikes for the first time in New York history. For more than 15 years, both houses of the Legislature along with three governors have talked about a property tax cap for New York’s overburdened homeowners with no results. New York’s property taxes are among the highest taxes in the nation:

•The median U.S. property tax paid is $1,917; in New York, it’s $3,755 – 96 percent higher than the national average
•As a percentage of personal income, New York has the highest local taxes in the nation – 79 percent above the national average
•From 1998 to 2008, property tax levies in New York grew by more than 73 percent – more than twice the rate of inflation during that span
•Companies pay five times more in property taxes than they do in corporate taxes
•New York – especially Upstate New York – continues to hemorrhage population and jobs at a greater rate than the national average.