Recently, State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) announced that she will retire from the New York State Senate at the end of her term this December. Since her announcement, it has been widely reported that State Assemblyman George Latimer (D-Rye) is actively considering a run for this seat.
While Westchester Taxpayers criticized Senator Oppenheimer for missing the 2008 vote on a state property tax cap and voting for billions of dollars in higher state taxes and spending in 2009 and 2010, at least Senator Oppenheimer ultimately voted for Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap last year.
In contrast, Assemblyman Latimer voted against Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap in 2011 and, before that, eliminated the New Rochelle property tax cap in 2005. For Westchester Taxpayers in New Rochelle, Assemblyman Latimer’s efforts to eliminate the New Rochelle property tax cap were coupled with an increase in the local sales tax.
Thanks to Assemblyman George Latimer, Westchester Taxpayers in New Rochelle have paid $4 million more in property taxes than they would have paid if he had not eliminated the cap and pay $9 million per year in higher local sales taxes.
According to a May 2003 article in the New York Times, “New Rochelle’s tax cap was put into effect in 1993, and prohibits city taxes from being raised more than the consumer price index. The cap was imposed in exchange for a 1 percent increase in sales tax, which brings in about $9 million a year.” In June 2005, the Journal News noted that “[t]he restriction was the idea of former Assemblyman Ronald Tocci, who continually insisted that the city agree to the restriction in exchange for his needed support for the extra sales tax.”
The New Rochelle property tax cap was eliminated by legislation that the Journal News (June 2005) reported was “introduced at Latimer’s request.”
For Westchester Taxpayers, Assemblyman Latimer’s vote against Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap wasn’t a surprise. His record clearly indicates that he’s opposed to capping property taxes, even in the nation’s highest taxed county.