How dire is the need for a real property tax cap? Very.
In the past month, not only has the Chautauqua County executive pitched a plan that raised taxes more than 2 percent in 2012 - some area towns have as well. Both Arkwright and Pomfret are aiming to override the state law while others, such as Sheridan and Hanover, are close, but under, the cap.
County Executive Greg Edwards, right, who ran on the Republican ticket as lieutenant governor with Carl Paladino who was "mad as hell" about high state taxes, has publicly called the cap a "scam." His response since that 2010 election? Propose county plans that raise tax rates 21 percent.
How's that for being "mad?" Fortunately, county legislators got Albany's message.
But if state legislation cannot slow the rapids of increasing local taxes, what will? Obviously, residents here have heard the excuses from town, city, school and village leaders in the past that there is just no other choice but to raise taxes.
What could be done?
Nothing really. So the state took a step of implementing a tax cap. It is not perfect, but it is better than what we had before.
This will prevent - or at least make - municipalities think twice before just increasing the burden on the taxpayer. Last year, the village of Forestville levied a 20 percent tax increase on its residents.
Was that fair? Absolutely not. But nothing was there to prevent that drastic increase.
The tax cap was put into effect because all layers of government are continuing to place a heavy burden on those paying the property taxes. Even before the cap, spending - even on a local level - was out of control.
Maybe it will make a difference in the future.
But despite what our executive says, the only real "scam" is the fact our county remains in the top 10 nationally when it comes to the highest tax burdens.
That reality is due to local control - no matter how much every area official blames New York state.