Golisano says he is fighting ‘unfair’ property taxes in new campaign

Local News

Update:

Three court cases and six figures in legal fees later, Tom Golisano claims the tax assessment process, specifically in Upstate New York, is unfair.

“We want to get the system fixed. It’s a poor system. We want to start a class action suit against the state and local governments in New York State,” said Golisano.

At a press conference today, Golisano revealed his solution: a website he created called “TaxMyPropertyFairly.com” for home owners to join the lawsuit. Specifically, it’s for those who sold their homes for less than what’s been assessed. The goal: to recover some of their taxes. 

“The purpose of the website is to help property owners understand the assessment process and if they disagree with the result of the assessment process, what they can do about it,” explained Golisano.

However, Robin Johnson, Real Property Tax Director for Ontario County says Golisano’s claims that all property tax assessments are unfair is not true. Johnson says, if you feel your assessment is unfair, go to your town’s assessor to discuss it. 

Donna Graham, who owns two properties in Gorham, Ontario county, did just that. 

“It was a fifteen minute meeting, cost me nothing and a few weeks later, I received mail that they reduced the assessments appropriately,” Graham said.

Johnson adds that tax rates are adjusted whenever there is a change in a town’s assessment. Golisano says he plans to move his campaign forward regardless. 

According to Golisano, the current system calls on the home owner to prove they are correct, even if the assessment may be wrong . Golisano claims this puts the homeowner at a disadvantage right away.  Golisano says his website will help this process.  

 Also in Golisano’s data, Monroe County is over assessed by 16%. However, that is a general number. Make sure you talk to your Town Assessor if you feel your property tax assessment is unfair. 

Golisano admits he has still not paid his own property taxes for his home on Canandaigua Lake.
    The Ontario County Real Property Tax Services agency tells News 8 that penalties and interest have been added to his county and town tax bill. If this continues, we’re told his property could go to auction.
 

A link to Golisano’s website: TaxMyPropertyFairly.com.

Earlier:

Billionaire Tom Golisano is launching a new campaign to fight property taxes in New York state.

Along with the campaign, Golisano has also launched a new website to provide resources for homeowners: TaxMyPropertyFairly.com.

Homeowners will also have the opportunity to join a class action lawsuit on behalf of people who have sold there homes for less than the assessed value in the last five years.

Golisano says, “I want to see a public swell of concern over the property tax process and how inequitable and unfair it is, and see a change in the process. When you compare the property tax system to those for sales and income taxes, just look at the figures, whether homeowners are over or under assessed, there is no equity here.”

He adds, “”It is not fair for some homeowners to be paying more in property taxes than the market value of their homes and for others to pay less. The system is not fair if people need to hire lawyers and consultants to navigate a complex process to challenge their assessments. This is not only an effort to reduce taxes, but rather one to help improve the system so that it is more equitable.”

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