Letters to the editor January 18

New Yorkers need property tax relief

With the recent changes to federal tax laws, there has been a renewed focus on the impact of high property taxes in New York. We need to address this issue in three ways: making the tax cap permanent; reconsidering how we fund education and provide mandate relief; and tackling out-of-control tax exemptions and abuses.

The Senate has again passed legislation to make the tax cap permanent, which has to date saved taxpayers $23 billion statewide. This bill passed overwhelmingly in 2015, 2016, and 2017 but has not been brought for a vote on the floor of the Assembly.

However, simply capping the rate of growth of property taxes is not enough: we must reduce the main driver of our high property taxes, school taxes. That is why I have reintroduced legislation to allow school districts, at voter option, to phase out school property taxes on primary residences over five years and replace the lost revenue with increased state aid. This legislation has also previously passed the Senate and died in the Assembly. Finally, we need to address the issue of out-of-control property-tax exemptions. Based on year 2013 assessment rolls, $826 billion in property value, nearly one-third of the value of all the property in New York, is exempt from taxation. In order to reform these property tax exemptions, I have long fought for a package of bills to rein in the abuses in the system. I look forward to working this session to bring real relief to the taxpayers of New York.

Sen. John J. Bonacic

New York State Senate

District 42

Glossing over details on Faso’s opponents

Your January 3rd editorial (regarding the six Democrat candidates seeking to run against Congressman John Faso in this fall’s Congressional election) glosses over some pertinent details.

First, four of the six Democrats are recent arrivals to the 19th District, having voted in New Jersey, New York City, and Massachusetts in the 2016 election. Having little connection or history in this congressional district that spans 11 counties, how can these candidates presume to represent our interests?

Second, Congressman Faso has been very responsive to local concerns and available to our local residents. He was instrumental in breaking the four-year-long bureaucratic logjam that  delayed funding for a needed emergency generator at Catskill Regional Medical Center. Congressman Faso has worked with countless constituents on numerous issues they’ve had with Social Security, veteran benefits and immigration matters, as well as many other issues.

Every Friday afternoon I receive an email from John Faso’s office titled “Work Week with Congressman Faso.” This email recaps the things Congressman Faso did for his 19th District Constituents in the past week. It is amazing to me, all the various things that he does for us in District 19. (Visit www.Faso.House.gov and sign up for this weekly communication.) John Faso has been a very responsive Congressman to his 19th District constituents during his first year in office. He won Sullivan County by over 2,000 votes in 2016, and my prediction is that he’ll do even better here in 2018.

Susan Brown Otto

Bethel, New York


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