It Can Be So Confusing...

There are terms that need to be defined

When opinion polls show that New Yorkers favor "tax caps", it's partly because people were misled into believing that their property taxes will be limited by this cap.

When respondents were given a choice, with the two measures explained, they preferred the circuit breaker over a tax cap. Why? It's the circuit breaker - not the tax cap - that actually relieves individual property taxes.

Finally, homeowners, lawmakers - and the media - need to speak the same language about property tax.

1) Tax Relief

Meaningful tax relief is a reduction in the homeowner's property tax burden.

The circuit breaker's tax relief comes as a credit on the homeowner's state income tax or as a refund check.

pull the circuit breaker!

2) Property Tax Circuit Breaker

The Circuit Breaker is direct relief for the homeowner.

Just as electrical circuit breakers prevent circuits from being overloaded by excessive electric current, it is "circuit breaker relief" that prevents taxpayers from being overburdened by property taxes.

The circuit breaker is a progressive formula for calculating a fair tax burden. It aims to soften the blow of property taxes. The circuit breaker will help keep New Yorkers in their homes while we work on long-term reform of property taxation.

3) Tax Caps

The "tax cap" is a tax LEVY cap. Proponents of the cap generally don’t explain that it caps only the increase in tax levy — the total amount a school district or municipal body can raise in property taxes — not your tax bill.

The tax cap does NOT cut, lower or even cap INDIVIDUAL property taxes. If you can’t afford your taxes today, you’re unlikely to find them more affordable when they keep rising each year, as they will with the cap.

A 2% cap on the tax levy can translate into a double-digit increase in your individual bill in a given year.

That’s because the bill depends on the apportionment of the overall tax levy among the various towns of a school district or county, the impact of revaluations on your individual assessment, and other quirky features of this antiquated system.

What's the Answer? Reach for the Circuit Breaker!

Learn how the Omnibus Circuit Breaker legislation will offer relief for NY State homeowners.