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Business Group's Report Calls Rockland's Tax Burden 'Unaffordable'

Al Samuels, President/CEO of Rockland Business Association discussed the recent white paper, "A Crushing Burden - Why is Rockland County So Heavily Taxed?" at last month's RBA board meeting.
Al Samuels, President/CEO of Rockland Business Association discussed the recent white paper, "A Crushing Burden - Why is Rockland County So Heavily Taxed?" at last month's RBA board meeting. Photo Credit: File photo

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- A recent Rockland Business Association report takes a look at high taxes in Rockland County.

"When the cost of compensation of many individuals in the public sector exceeds the median household income of the local taxpayers that pay those salaries, the tax burden can be particularly onerous and can become unaffordable and even unsustainable."

The observation is one of many describing why Rockland is unaffordable and, in some cases, unsustainable in the Association's white paper, "A Crushing Burden - Why is Rockland County So Heavily Taxed?"

The findings were presented to the media following last month's RBA board meeting.

The paper was prepared by Hudson Valley Pattern For Progress, which drafted a paper in 2012 on Rockland's fiscal crisis,

"This study succinctly points out the contributory factors to Rockland being the second highest taxed country in the U.S. and offers 13 recommendations and best practices for the people of Rockland to consider if they wish to make any course corrections in terms of where we are heading," said Al Samuels, the business association's president and chief executive officer.

He added the report is "intended as an instrument to guide the people through a self-examination that could result in Rockland achieving a level of sustainability not currently evident in its future."

County taxes comprise about 9 percent of an average property tax bill in Rockland, with the rest coming from schools, towns, villages and special taxing districts, according to Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

"We are well aware that taxes in Rockland are very high," he said.

His proposed county budget for 2017 addresses the issue of high taxes by "ending the cycle of tax-and-spend government that has long been the practice," Day continued.

It stays "within the 1.17 percent tax cap set by the state for Rockland. My proposed budget also cuts spending by 3.5 percent. Since I took office in 2014, I have cut county spending by more than 9 percent, or $67 million," he said.

"This record shows that it is possible to make government more efficient and less expensive without compromising services," Day said."

"I think that many levels of government are capable of doing the same. Making government more efficient, more effective and less expensive is key to attracting business development, which is turn reduces the tax burden on residents," said Day.

To read the report, click here.

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