The tax burden in the City of Kingston has become absolutely brutal. There is little question that city spending must be reduced and the tax burden reduced on residents and businesses. However, even if city and school taxes could be reduced by 10%, the burden would still be considerable.
Every year, Kingstonians must make 2 massive payments of their city taxes and 2 massive payments of their school taxes. The second payment of the school taxes is almost always in December. Citizens are saving money to give their children a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hannukah, yet have to deduct from their holiday money to pay the “Grinch” the second half of school taxes.
If elected Mayor, I will order the Comptroller’s Office to offer a new option for city taxpayers. If a taxpayer desires, they may keep the current payment system. However, taxpayers (residents and businesses) may also choose a new monthly payment system. Essentially, the tax payment would be collected in the form of monthly payments, so as to ease the burden of paying 4 massive payments. It would also allow for easier budgeting for households and businesses on a monthly basis.
The city does not accept partial payments. So, if you get behind on the massive payment, they will only accept full payment along with the monetary penalties which are quite steep. This prevents many people from paying down their tax debt. A monthly system would help alleviate this problem.
My hope as Mayor is to reduce city spending and begin to bring down the massive tax burden on our citizens and our businesses, all of whom are struggling mightily in this extremely weak economy. Payment of taxes, however, will always be required, even if reduced. Why not make the payment as easy as possible and allow a monthly payment program?
Currently, there is only one monthly payment program offered by the city. Unfortunately, it requires a property owner to be three years behind and in the process of foreclosure. Why are we offering such a program only at the last minute when people are within inches of losing their home? Is not home ownership something to be encouraged? Since the entire tax payment system is run by computer, it would not be difficult to arrange for a monthly payment plan. It would give assistance to working people struggling to make ends meet.
As Mayor, I will look to reduce city property taxes. I will also implement this monthly payment program so that citizens and businesses who feel this would be of assistance can take advantage of the opportunity, pay their taxes, and keep their homes or businesses.
Parts 2 and 3 of my Tax Burden Relief Plan will be released shortly.