The Sanity for NYS Fire Districts Petition sign now

Dutchess County's state legislators should get real relief for the taxpayers of the Fairview Fire District (as well as a solution to pressure on valuable local institutions like Dutchess Community College, Marist College, and St. Francis Hospital)-- and push now for New York to follow the smart examples set in Connecticut and Rhode Island-- and make sure the state reimburses towns, cities, and villages for nontaxable property occupied by nonprofit colleges or hospitals, as there are at least five Republican governors across the country (and five other states besides) that have top income tax rates higher than here in New York!

[if you agree, sign on to this petition and pass it along to all you know; scroll down below to sign]

"Connecticut and Rhode Island use the state budgets to make payments in lieu of property taxes to cities, to cover some taxes lost on college, hospital and state property."
[from "Clinic and UH Worth a Lot, But Taxed a Little" by Joan Mazzolini (Plain Dealer Reporter 4/9/08):]

"Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only two states in the nation to have a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program, which demands that the state reimburse the city for the nontaxable property occupied by tax-exempt institutions such as universities."
[from "Many Universities Face Town-Gown Issues" by Katie DeWitt (Yale Daily News 3/29/05):]

"Residents of the Fairview Fire District say dorms would put an even greater burden on already overburdened district taxpayers. 'We can't afford to run that fire district anymore,' said district resident Robert Rogers. Rogers said roughly 80 percent of the property in the fire district-- including Dutchess Community College, St. Francis Hospital, and Marist College-- is tax-exempt, putting the burden of support on the 20 percent of land that is taxable. 'Right now, we do not have the ability to protect the high rises at Marist and the 400 students (proposed) at Dutchess,' said Tim O'Connor, president of the Dutchess-Fairview Professional Firefighters.'"
[from March 11, 2008 Daily Freeman:]

"Some residents living near the Cottage Lane site, said the dorm would further threaten their safety and property values. Robert Rogers said the project is simply unaffordable. 'A 15 percent increase this year; some people paid close to 25 percent if you are in the Hyde Park fire area. The fact is, we just cannot afford to pay any more money. Its about time that all these not-for-profits, be they religious, educational or charitable, start paying for these services.' Several officials and volunteers in the Fairview Fire District complained a dorm, with more than 400 students, would overburden them.By some estimates, 80 percent of the large institutions in the Fairview Fire District, including the community college, and the larger Marist College, are off the tax rolls. James Doxsey, a Town of Poughkeepsie Conservative, claimed the cost of fire services would go up $136,000, or $80 a person, and that the number of fire calls to the college, would increase by about 45 a year, if the dorm is built."
[from "Dutchess Legislature Narrowly Okays Next Move Toward Possible College Dorm"]

"In Connecticut, the state government makes direct payments to local governments based on the amount of property owned by the state or by nonprofit colleges and hospitals. The state program pays a percentage of the taxes that would be paid if the property were not tax-exempt: for example, up to 100 percent of the lost value for correctional facilities; up to 65 percent for state hospital property; and up to 77 percent of the lost value for property owned by private, nonprofit colleges and hospitals. The state of Rhode Island also makes payments to local communities for state-owned land. The federal government makes contributions to counties in 49 states and the District of Columbia for tax-exempt, federally managed land. Those payments ('payment-in-lieu-of-taxes' arrangements known as PILOT payments) consider the amount of federally managed land in the county (not including office buildings, military facilities or correctional facilities), the county's population and other revenue shared with the county."
[from "PILOTS Give Local Government Revenues a Lift" by Mark Murphy
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees 2002]

Fact: Here in New York the top income tax rate is 6.85\%, kicking in starting at only $20,000 in income; there's plenty of room to enact a more progressive tax system in the state with a millionaires' tax, as 78\% of New Yorkers favor according to an August 6th poll conducted by Quinnipiac University.

Fact: There are ten other states in the U.S. with top income tax rates much higher than New York's-- and yet their economies are not suffering; there's less of a burden on property taxpayers in those ten states.

G.O.P. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California governs with 10.3\% top income tax rate for wealthy.

G.O.P. Gov. Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island governs state with top income tax rate of 9.9\% for wealthy.

G.O.P. Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont governs state with top income tax rate of 9.5\% for wealthy there.

G.O.P. Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii governs state with top income tax rate of 8.25\% for wealthy there.

G.O.P. Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota governs state with top income tax rate of 7.85 for wealthy there.

[Oregon's top income tax rate is 9\%, Iowa's is 8.98\%, New Jersey's is 8.97\%, Maine's is 8.5\%, and
North Carolina's is 8\% (source: Fiscal Policy Institute--]

Fact: Millionaires now in NYS literally pay half the state and local taxes that we middle-income earners do as a percentage of income-- because millionaires also literally pay half the income taxes to Albany as they did in the early 70's under G.O.P. Gov. Rockefeller (and even the current proposal would allow them to still pay only about half the top rate back then), according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.

So-- if you agree that New York should finally sensibly follow the good examples set in Connecticut and Rhode Island and make sure the state reimburses towns, cities, and villages for nontaxable property occupied by nonprofit colleges or hospitals-- sign this petition, pass it along to all you know, send a letter to [email protected], and call state legislators at (877) 255-9417.

Joel Tyner
County Legislator (Clinton/Rhinebeck)
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

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According to the massive Better Choice Budget Coalition across the state (see, "the wealthiest New Yorkers pay a much smaller percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than low and middle income working families; seniors on fixed incomes, working families, and young couples are among the New Yorkers who suffer from the inequities in the current state-local tax structure; New York's policymakers must take the pressure off the property tax by restoring some of the income tax system's lost progressivity and make New York's tax fairer and more equitable by increasing the top marginal tax rates on the highest income households."

The Better Choice Budget Coalition ( includes Dutchess Outreach, the New York Statewide Senior Action Council, New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, Children's Defense Fund, American Academy of Pediatrics, New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, CSEA, AFSCME, Public Employees Federation, New York State United Teachers, National Education Association, Alliance for Quality Education, National Association of Social Workers, SEIU Local 200 United, Communication Workers of America, Local 1180, New York State Labor-Religion Coalition, Interfaith Alliance, Interfaith Impact of New York State, New York State Episcopal Public Policy Network, New York State Community Action Association, Hunger Action Network of New York State, Citizen Action of NY, SENSES, Greater Upstate Law Project, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of NY, Citizens Environmental Coalition, et. al.

Fact: Back in March even Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz sent a letter to Governor David Paterson, then-Senate-Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver making a compelling case that a millionaires' tax would be "economically preferable" to raising regressive fees or cutting spending (the tax system has gotten so skewed in our state that someone who makes $40,000 a year pays same income taxes to Albany as someone who makes $40 million a year; makes no sense.
[see letter itself here:]

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From "Connecticuts Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program-- A Model for the Nation"
by Judith B. Greiman, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

"States have grappled over the years with ways to tax their citizens, especially in
times like these when money is tight. But the notion of granting a property tax
exemption to nonprofit institutions of higher education has been in effect at least
since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. At that time, states began to
model their property tax systems based on the British model, which incorporated
an exemption for institutions of higher education.

These tax exemptions, given to colleges and universities as well as to non-profit
hospitals, schools and cultural organizations, come about in recognition of the
long-standing tradition that such institutions serve the public good by enhancing
the education, health and general welfare of a state's citizenry.

Over time, each state has developed some form of exemption for property owned
by colleges and universities, either through specific charters, constitutional
provisions or statutes. As with the federal tax exemption, the unifying concepts
supporting this exemption are the public benefit derived from these educational
activities and a belief that the government should not be the sole provider of such
services. Tax-exempt status for institutions of higher education provides
necessary and important support allowing colleges and universities to pursue
their basic mission of teaching, research, and service. Because of such policies,
universities are able to survive now and for future generations.

While the tax exemption outlined above is common in all states, Connecticut's
response to it is not. Connecticuts payment in lieu of taxes program is one of a
handful in the nation. In almost every other state, there is no state payment to
towns for the revenue that would have otherwise come in from tax-exempt
institutions. Additionally, it is the only PILOT program that mandates
reimbursement at such a high level.

Connecticut's PILOT program of grants to municipalities is an important
recognition of the fact that colleges, universities and hospitals benefit everyone
residing here and not just those who happen to live in the particular city or town
in which such an institution is located. Although the State does not always pay
the statutorily mandated amount to towns, funding levels have been close to the
mandated 77 percent level for a number of years and climb even higher with the
addition of the Pequot funds that are distributed according to the PILOT formula.

This fiscal year, PILOT reimbursement is at 63 percent and the additional Pequot
funds bring the reimbursement to towns up to 76 percent. Most states have no
such funding mechanism for colleges and hospitals. In other words, we are
ahead of the curve as Connecticut goes the extra mile in providing revenue to
towns in recognition of the statewide benefits provided by these institutions.

Connecticut and Mitchell Colleges are educators, employers and true community
partners in New London. Rather than concocting new schemes that work against
strong town-gown relationships and that fly in the face of established state policy,
we should work together to ensure statutory funding of the PILOT program."

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