Tuesday, December 19, 2006

NY comptroller: Numbers forecast concern for local taxpayers

AP Story Newsday MICHAEL GORMLEY

Hevesi gives us a little economic "razzle and dazzle" with this report......like he knows his stuff..which he does......like he is still in charge and on the job..which he is.....maybe a little distraction from the grand jury/negotiations??? andy

"ALBANY, N.Y. -- In a warning for New York property tax payers, the state comptroller on Tuesday predicted slow revenue growth and rising expenses for local governments outside New York City. Local government budget gaps are expected to drive median property tax increases of 4.2 percent a year and some cities may hike taxes by more than 10 percent annually, according to the report by state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. "Many cities in New York state are facing very difficult fiscal problems, and if current trends continue, even more of our cities are likely to experience severe fiscal stress," Hevesi said. Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer this week repeated his campaign promise to cut property taxes, which he said are choking the middle class, stifling business and job development, and making Long Island and other areas unaffordable for many working families. The analysis of plans from 48 cities outside New York City found: _Median property taxes are projected to increase by 4.2 percent a year. _ Cities project average budget gaps of 5.2 percent in 2007 that will grow to 9.8 percent by 2009. Ten cities project gaps of more than 10 percent. Those cities weren't identified. _Median revenue growth will be 3.4 percent through 2009, down from 3.6 percent from 1999 to 2004. Six cities projected declines in revenue. _Local government spending will increase 4.1 percent a year on average through 2009, a rate that has held steady since 1999. The biggest average increase _ 7.4 percent _ will be in employee benefits. _Sales tax revenue was projected to increase about 4.2 percent a year, compared to 4.1 percent since 1999. On Monday, the New York State Taxpayers Union called on Albany to reduce property taxes as an urgent priority. The group said the biggest part of property taxes _ school taxes _ should be reduced by limiting school spending. Hevesi also released a report on state government spending so far in the fiscal year that ends April 1. It found tax revenues and other receipts were $2 billion, or 7.2 percent, ahead of last year. State officials have credited a reviving economy, especially downstate, and reduced state spending for the revenue boost. "

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