Last week, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne joined members of the State Assembly, including Assemblyman Matt Slater, to shine a light on New York State’s atrocious tax climate and shortcomings. The state has once again ranked worst in the nation in economic outlook according to the 2023 issue of “Rich States Poor States.” Legislators shared some of their solutions for the state to adopt such as capping state spending and prohibiting backdoor borrowing, while Byrne shared his proposed local government solutions that are currently before the Putnam County Legislature. The proposals include a Taxpayer Bill of Rights and the Taxpayer Transparency Act.
“There are things we can do right now, here at the local level to improve our state’s economic outlook and change the culture of over taxation, obscurity, and spending in New York State,” said County Executive Byrne. “We’ve sent language to the Putnam County Legislature asking them to pass our proposal to self-mandate greater access to participation in public legislative meetings, create a budget transparency website, and change the county charter so that any property tax increase would require a 2/3 majority vote as opposed to a simple majority.”
“New York state has an opportunity to change our tax climate and make it a more affordable place to live. We must implement common sense solutions, such as the 2% spending cap, to stop the tax and spending madness that our state is notorious for” said Assemblyman Matt Slater. “Coupled with strong leaders on the county level, like Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, we can make sure government on all levels finally respects property taxpayers.”
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights as proposed by the County Executive during the State of the County would change the county charter to require a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature when the annual operating budget results in a property tax levy increase. It also provides increased access and comment periods during the budget process.
The Taxpayer Transparency Act, also proposed at the 2023 State of the County, would self-mandate that the County Legislature provide the public with live video and audio streaming of all legislative public meetings. The goal is to provide residents who are incapable of attending for one reason or another, with the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on the hard work of their government representatives. In addition, the proposed legislation would establish a budget transparency website that provides the county budget in a more easily understandable format as opposed to providing a hundred plus page spreadsheet with numbers and line items that the average citizen has no time to look at, let alone actually understand.
For the Rich States Poor States full 2023 report, visit https://www.richstatespoorstates.org/states/NY/