ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The candidates for New York State Senate in the 58th Senate District, incumbent Tom O’Mara (R) and challenger Leslie Danks-Burke (D), took time on Thursday to discuss New York’s high property taxes and how they would lower them.
“Politicians around here have been promising for years and years that they’re gonna stand up for a property tax cut for upstate New York,” said Danks-Burke. “The time for that upstate property tax cut is now, and I’m tired of listening to politicians say that they’re going to stand for tax cuts and not getting it done. It’s killing us upstate and we need to see that move.”
According to Burke, 89 cents of every property tax dollar in Chemung County is sent to the state.
“I want to see that 89 cents either cut or kept here in Chemung County to benefit the folks in Chemung County.”
“I have fought tirelessly to cut taxes since I’ve been in the state legislature,” said O’Mara, who was first elected in 2010. “When I entered the state legislature the county’s unfunded mandates were about $1.20 per every dollar of property tax collected. That has been reduced to that 89 cents that Leslie mentioned.”
O’Mara says that since a cap and freeze of the local share of Medicaid was put in place, counties have saved over $18 billion, or $4 billion a year.
“The local share for counties state-wide remains at $7 billion, which I am still working on eliminating completely, but we’ve cut that by more than 50 percent of what it would be today.”
But Danks-Burke says O’Mara hasn’t done enough to lower taxes for residents.
“So as I understand it, Tom O’Mara has said he stands against the high taxes but he’s done nothing about it,” said Danks-Burke. “For eight years in a row, Tom O’Mara has voted to raise our property taxes, and I say it’s time for that to stop.”
O’Mara responded to Danks-Burke by saying “property taxpayers state-wide have saved $25 billion since the property tax cap was put into place. Nobody works harder to cut property taxes than I do. I’m proud of my record and my record can speak for itself.”