VOICE OF THE LEGISLATIVE MAJORITY: Legislature Cuts Property Taxes


picBy Legislator Alden H. Wolfe (D – Montebello)
Rockland County Legislature 

The people spoke, and we listened. For the first time since 2007, Rockland County taxpayers will see a drop in the amount they pay for County property taxes, thanks to the 2017 budget that was approved by the County Legislature.

This budget process began with yet another tax increase proposed by the County Executive, and contained no funds for deficit reduction – a major issue highlighted by the State Comptroller in his review of the proposed budget. What the proposed budget did include was a whopping 1,371% increase in spending for postage for mailings sent out by the County Executive. Of course, we removed that increase from the final budget.

The approved budget also made our priorities clear: We will eliminate the deficit responsibly, and build on the successes of our past budget cuts by keeping our government slim, which will put us on the path to future surpluses.

While some may claim that the Legislature’s actions are “reckless,” the people of Rockland need only ask themselves if the Legislature was reckless when it approved a 2014 budget that resulted in a $4 million surplus, if the Legislature was reckless when it approved a 2015 budget that resulted in a $9 million surplus, or if the Legislature was reckless when it approved a 2016 budget that is now forecast to result in a $2 million surplus- and that is even after removing $4 million of surplus funds to account for the Sain Building remaining unsold!

Another false claim about our budget is that it overstates revenues, particularly sales tax revenues. The truth is that in the budget we approved, we estimated that we will receive $1 million less in sales tax revenue for 2017 than the amount the County Executive’s Commissioner of Finance estimates we will bring in for 2016. How is that not conservative and responsible budgeting?

Numbers are black and white, and do not lie. Sadly, people do. We will build on the successes of the past brought about by the difficult decisions that the Legislature made during the financial crisis, and we will pass those successes on to our taxpayers in the form of lower taxes every chance we get.

While the Legislature approved the budget with the tax cut, it now heads to the County Executive’s desk for his signature. Make your voice heard by calling the County Executive at 638-5122 and tell him to sign the Legislature’s budget that cuts your taxes and pays down our deficit!

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