Reservations expressed on state tax cap proposal

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed multiple reservations Monday about a proposed cap on schoo
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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed multiple reservations Monday about a proposed cap on school property taxes.

Silver, D-Manhattan, told the state conference of mayors that Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed state budget is a good start, but the Assembly majority has concerns about it. “High among those concerns,” he said, “is the governor’s proposal for a property tax cap.”

Silver said he is worried about the cap limiting revenues needed for important goals such as universal pre-kindergarten programs and reducing class size, and making good on the state’s commitment to fund the settlement of a long-running lawsuit mandating increases in funding for New York City schools.

Silver also expressed concerns about caps limiting revenue for other worthy government programs helping the poor, sick and elderly, and wondered how the state would cover its increased costs if a commission appointed by Spitzer to study the issue just proposes shifting costs to the state.

Asked later if his speech means he is opposed to a tax cap, Silver said he is not.

John Reid, executive director of Spitzer’s Commission on Property Tax Relief, told the mayors that 15 other states have one or another form of tax cap, and his commission is closely studying five of them, with particular emphasis on Massachusetts.

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