Property Tax Circuit Breaker

Date: 2010


Establishment of a circuit breaker tax credit and a state spending cap
S. 6610-A/A. 9710-A (Part Q)
Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan coalition of more than 70 business and trade organizations representing a 
growing group of 70,000 companies and employing upwards of 1.5 million people, opposes the Article 
VII budget language found in S. 6610-A/A. 9710-A, that would establish a circuit breaker tax credit along 
with a state spending cap.
As an organization, we continue to advocate for both a state spending cap as well as a property tax cap. 
The Executive Budget attempted to address these two very important issues, but unfortunately missed the 
mark. Instead of a property tax cap, the budget includes a circuit breaker program that will not structurally 
reform or alleviate the property tax burden in this state. It also includes arbitrary income thresholds for 
eligibility of $300,000 for New York City and its suburbs and $200,000 for Upstate. It is contingent upon 
a state surplus, and does not apply to businesses.
Unshackle Upstate supports a Property Tax Cap at 2.5 percent, the same as Massachusetts. In some parts 
of the state, a 4 percent cap as suggested by the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief 
(Suozzi Commission) is too high. Other measures included within the Commission’s recommendations 
that Unshackle Upstate supports include:
  • No new regulatory mandates from the State Education Department without a complete accounting of the fiscal impact on local governments, which must include full documentation, local government input, and proposed revenue sources.
  • Mandate accountability through the Office of the State Comptroller, which should include the cumulative cost to localities of complying with all new regulatory and legislative mandates.
  • Streamline and centralize school district reporting.
In addition, the proposed spending cap is insufficient as well, and has two major, glaring deficiencies: the 
spending cap would start with an already unsustainable rate of spending, and the program sunsets in 2014.
Prior to the release of the Executive Budget, Unshackle Upstate outlined a plan that would right-size the 
budget by 2015. Under our plan, we are recommending that the state budget return to the level it was in 
2000 – $77.5 billion – and then be adjusted according to the CPI to reach no more than $109 billion by 
2015. To achieve this goal, Unshackle Upstate proposes that this year’s budget be reduced by nearly $12 
billion (Attached is an outline of suggested budget cuts for 2010-11). Then the budget should decrease by 
at least $2 billion per year to meet the 2015 goal. Only after state spending is controlled, can a spending 
cap occur.
Unshackle Upstate has been strongly pushing for real reform in these two areas and is forced to oppose 
these measures as they will not accomplish positive results for New York State taxpayers