Under a Republican proposal Thursday in the State Senate, property owners would get a tax rebate check every September from Albany, and municipalities would see new incentives to consolidate services with neighboring governments. Essentially, this expands the "popular" STAR program which rebates to residential property owners some of their school taxes.
While the leadership correctly identifies New York's excessive property taxes, particularly school taxes, as one of the state's major problems, their solution is the same old "New York response" to any problem: throw money at it.
While some people have received relief under the STAR program, it did nothing to curb the cause of high school taxes: out-of-control spending by local school districts. In fact, STAR made it easier for local districts to spend more by BUYING OFF the votes of those most likely to oppose spending increases: the elderly and others on fixed incomes living in depreciated homes. Now, in typical NY fashion, a whole class of people will become further dependant on the government to give them a handout check every September.
While details of the plans for encouraging municipal "consolidation" are not described, it sounds like it will be more of the same: more handouts rather than attacking the structural impediments to consolidation.
Of course, all this only takes money from one taxpayer's pocket to put in another -- with the appropriate administration fee (employing how many more government bureaucrats) deducted along the way.
New York has to stop producing schemes like STAR that only enourage more bad behavior. Instead of giving taxpayers rebates, NY needs to stop taking so much from us to begin with.
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