New York’s property tax data gets time in the sun

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced last week the release of property tax data that is intended to give taxpayers the ability to compare tax rate and levy data for their community.

There are 1607 local governments within the state of New York, and data from each of those entities, as well as the 699 school districts will be accessible to the public. “I want taxpayers to have access to easy-to-use information on what they’re paying in property taxes, and know how those rates and levies compare to other jurisdictions in their region. This data helps them do that,” said DiNapoli in a statement. “My goal is to increase transparency and empower citizens to be able to ask questions and participate in the decision-making process within their communities.”

The system also computes average taxes for special districts within each town, such as fire, water or sewer taxes. “My office knows that figuring out property tax rates for your area can be confusing. For example, many school districts’ boundaries overlap more than one town. By organizing property tax data from the taxpayer’s perspective – where they live – we hope to demystify some of that,” said DiNapoli. “And we’re committed to doing even more in the future through Open Book.”

The release of this information is part of DiNapoli’s ongoing effort to make more data available for public use and it is becoming available in light of upcoming school board and budget votes. Last year DiNapoli’s office launched, which contains information regarding the expenditures of state agencies and contract awards for state projects. Open Book was before its time, but since the Recovery Act, states will be required to track and make available such information used by states in the stimulus effort.

The new property tax data will be incorporated into Open Book, along with the state’s use of federal stimulus dollars in the near future, though no date has been confirmed.

States will have to submit their first quarterly reports to the federal government starting October 10, 2009.

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