Massachusetts has spent 30 years living with a property-tax cap

July 10, 2011. An article by Cara Matthews, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Also in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, the Journal News (Westchester and Rockland), and the Albany Times-Union.

In Massachusetts, local governments adopt one budget that includes municipal and school spending. Voters make the decision on all overrides. Proposition 21/2 is less restrictive than New York’s new cap, said Frank Mauro, executive director of the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute in Albany.

As a result, the average annual growth in Massachusetts’ property tax revenue was about 5.5 percent a year between 1981-82 and 2009-10, he wrote in a report last month.

New York’s cap “would undermine the quality of the entire array of locally funded public services while providing very little relief, if any, to those homeowners who are most overburdened by real property taxes,” he wrote.

The Massachusetts cap includes some exemptions and a less stringent override provision – a simple majority, Mauro said.