May 25, 2010. With Governor Cuomo proposing a rigid cap on property taxes based on Massachusetts’ Proposition 2½, this 2010 update of a landmark report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities should be must reading for New York policymakers. This report describes the problems the cap has created in Massachusetts and explains why the impact could be even more severe in New York. Among the key lessons of the Massachusetts experience:

  • A tax cap won’t make government services cost less.
  • Claims that caps will produce large savings through “efficiencies” are overblown.
  • Tax caps can be particularly harmful if adopted during a weak economy.
  • State aid can’t be relied upon to fill the gap.
  • Changes in school enrollment can have a big impact.
  • Without effectively targeted state aid, low-income communities will fall even further behind.
  • Wealthier communities will override a tax cap more frequently than poorer ones.
  • Middle-income communities might end up bearing the brunt of a cap.

More about Massachusetts’ Proposition 2½:

May 25, 2010. New York Shouldn’t Look to Massachusetts as a Model for Property Tax Reform: executive summary (html) and full report (pdf)
May 21, 2008. New York release of original report – html, pdf
May 21, 2008.  Response from the Commission on Property Tax Relief: Statement from Chairman Thomas J. Suozzi – html, pdf
May 28, 2008. More from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Suozzi’s Statement Ignores Truth about Massachusetts’ Property Tax Cap.