High property taxes continue to be a significant burden for Long Island homeowners, businesses, and other groups. For Long Island’s many hundreds of taxing authorities – whether they are school districts, municipalities, or a myriad of other tax-supported entities – the budget-making ritual is too often defined by the need to overcome deficits and maintain services by raising taxes.
Recognizing that workable, sensible solutions are needed to stem the overreliance on property taxes to fund local services, the Long Island Regional Planning Council has commissioned a PropertyTax Alternatives Study to recommend new strategies to help ease fiscal woes. The study is being conducted by Public Financial Management Group (PFM), a Philadelphia-based consulting firm
PFM has worked with other municipalities to identify how non-tax revenues and structural changes can help services become more affordable and paying for them can become more sustainable. Some of the strategies used in other regions have included consolidation, use of technology, improved efficiency, and pension reform.
PFM will also update the council’s 2010 Long Island Comprehensive Sustainability Plan’s forecast of tax growth, and interview local experts to identify emerging trends that could impact revenues. LIRPC’s original sustainability plan forecast that property taxes would take up 14 percent of the average household income by 2035 – up from 8.3 percent in 2009.
Revised forecasts for spending, property and sales tax growth, population trends and income through 2035, will also be developed.