Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lobbyist For a Day

I spent the day in Albany yesterday with approximately 50 other Realtors from both Rochester and Buffalo to meet with several of our state legislators to discuss upcoming legislation that affects local homeowners and the real estate market.

The most important item on our agenda was the need for property tax relief. New Yorkers pay an exorbitant amount of property taxes and Western New Yorkers pay more in taxes relative to their property value than the rest of the state. For example, the New York State Comptroller's Office reports that approximate property taxes on a home in Rochester valued at $100,000 are just under $4,000. In comparison, taxes on a $100,000 home in Yonkers are less than half of that ($1,773) and in Southampton, they are almost a tenth of that ($456).

As real estate agents, we were able to give real life experiences about how homebuyers and homeowners struggle to purchase or keep their homes due to high taxes. I had a fun conversation with Assemblyman Bob Oaks (Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne Counties) telling him about trying to explain NY state property taxes with STAR deductions and STAR rebates to individuals moving here from another state. Property tax relief needs to be a top legislative priority for lawmakers!

Some of the other items we discussed was to request support of a bill that would simplify the language on the state's property condition disclosure and to vote against a bill that would restrict the availability of real property information for consumers as well as licensed real estate practitioners. If you'd like information on these bills or others that we discussed with legislators, don't hesitate to give me a call at 585-414-5513.

One of the best things about the trip yesterday was the feeling that our elected officials do want to hear from their constituents. If you'd like to contact your elected state officials, the state has put together an excellent web site that allows you to type in your address and receive a complete list of who represents you. From there, you can make a few clicks to get everything from a biography to sponsored legislation to contact information for your officials. It's pretty painless to become informed and involved through this site.

With this trip behind me, I hope to get back on the blogging bandwagon and do a much better job of keeping this source of information up to date.
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