Property taxes are too high – there’s no doubt about that. But is this primarily a result of local decision-making or does it result instead from regional and state-wide factors? One way to sort it out is to compare our local budget and tax statistics with those of other cities in the area.
The Empire Center has set up a nice portal, using data from the New York State Comptroller’s Office, which lets you run cross-community comparisons by just about every fiscal metric.
How do we stack up? By several measures, pretty darn well.
New Rochelle’s effective property tax rate – meaning property taxes as a share of market value – ranks 11 out of 12 in the mid-Hudson region. That’s lower than every other city, except Rye, which is really more like a village. And looking at all 42 mid-sized cities in New York State, New Rochelle’s effective tax rate ranks 40th – among the very lowest.
We also compare very favorably when it comes to debt and spending, despite receiving one of the lowest levels of unrestricted State Aid per capita in New York.
You can check it out for yourself. Play with different data sets, and make your own judgment.
There certainly are areas where New Rochelle needs to improve. And, again, I’m not saying local taxes are low in absolute terms — this is only a comparative standard. But the numbers do demonstrate the relative efficiency of our City government and make clear our commitment to respecting taxpayers.