The Telegram
  • State lawmakers: Flood victims need tax relief

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  • Senators James Seward and Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi on Tuesday announced introduction of legislation to assist Mohawk Valley property owners recovering from summer flooding.
    The Mohawk Valley and Niagara County Assessment Relief Act would allow home and business owners that suffered major damage to apply for a tax reassessment.
    The special legislation would give municipalities in Cortland, Chemung, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Schuyler, Steuben and Tompkins counties the option to reassess property values of homeowners who suffered major damage during the flooding which occurred between June 20 and Aug. 9 and issue tax bills at a reduced rate.
    “Imagine you lost your home and everything you own, then to compound matters, you receive a tax bill for that destroyed property. Rebuilding a home is a monumental task and families and individuals need all the help they can get so they can remain here in the Mohawk Valley. Allowing municipalities to evaluate badly damaged property and offer a reduced tax assessment is a real difference maker,” said Seward, R - Oneonta.
    “This is an important proposal to the six-point legislative plan which we unveiled in July and one in which flood victims and municipal leaders agreed would be important to rebuilding homes and communities. When we return to legislative session, the Senate will push to adopt the six bills which will help change the way the state deals with such natural disasters,” said Griffo, R - Rome.
    The proposed legislation includes a graduated scale of property tax reduction levels based on the amount of damage home and business owners sustained.
    The bill also includes a clause protecting school districts from losing state education aid as a result of any reduced assessments.
    “Mohawk Valley residents should not have to pay a full tax assessment based on the pre-flood value of their property if it was severely damaged or destroyed. This measure would provide families with much-needed tax relief to help them get back on track as they work to repair their homes and rebuild their lives,” said Brindisi, D - Utica.
    The Mohawk Valley representatives are actively promoting several initiatives to assist flood victims today and in the future. In July they announced a six-point legislative package aimed at guiding New York’s long-term recovery and mitigation efforts. The goal is to better prepare and avoid major destruction when possible and devise a new playbook to respond when needed.
    The six-point legislative package, called Funding Emergency Relief Now, would create a state flood and emergency relief fund to assist property owners when FEMA or other funding is denied by the federal government; a refundable state income tax credit against property taxes paid where homes and business have suffered damage that reduce their value; a state task force on flood prevention and mitigation with regional subcommittees to help communities plan and fund flood prevention measures on a regional basis; enhanced funding through the Environmental Protection Fund for soil and water conservation districts to help local governments plan improved storm water drainage and flood prevention efforts; National Guard directed and supported construction assistance in communities where flood mitigation measures have been identified and would require a simplified and expedited reimbursement process for the state share of any reimbursable flood-related costs by local governments.
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