Why are taxes in Westchester County so outrageous?

Asked by Cliff, Mount Vernon, NY Fri May 22, 2009

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Middle Income…, Home Buyer, Westchester, IL
Fri May 29, 2009

I asked this questions as well see below. It's interesting that I received very little feedback. However, I do believe the citizens are fighting back a little but the numbers are small. The public service pension system is a major cause of the heavy tax burden e.g. paying for teachers and cops who especially under the older pension systems could retire relatively early with a great pension (the three best years in which there is an "understanding" within the system where you are given tremendous overtime which at times will easily double your salary). There are public documents showing where a correctional officer in Westchester has a base salary of 80k and overtime of about 200k - and yes he is near retirement. Hopefully this will shed some light on why taxes are outrageous. You are paying for 4 teachers but only 2 are in the classroom. The other two are in a low cost state making guaranteed NY money - not a bad deal huh. The politicians have an open checkbook funded by us the taxpayers who have no say on what to do with the money. Bernie Madoff isn't the only crook out there stealing your money!

What are the politicians doing about Westchester taxes? Taxes are destroying potential real estate buyers.

I am in the market to buy a house in a good school district such as Scarsdale, Ardsley, Rye Neck, etc. and even though I can stretch my income to buy a decent size house there (in the upper 900k's), the taxes will crucify me. I'm sure there are many people who are in this position and are being shut out from making a purchase. I understand paying more for the quality of a school but how do you justify a 25k/ year tax bill??!!! How does it go from 12k a few years ago to more than double??!! A tax bill should not be based on the sale price of a house or what a town feels it's worth - the towns are manipulating tax budgets based on property values. I'm certain school budgets have not doubled. Tax grievance or not, taxes are bleeding the people of Westchester. Are realtors making a stink out of this since it is hurting there business as well??
2 votes
My wife and I are just starting to "look around" to possibly buy… and we are SHOCKED at some of the taxes. A 700k home will require 4k in taxes in some places, 12k in others, and (in Dobbs Ferry, for instance) 28k! I almost did a spit-take when the agent told us.

My question is this: WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD PAY THIS? I'm not kidding, and I'm not trying to be overly-provocative. But that's another mortgage payment every month. It's crazy. Who can afford this?
Flag Mon Oct 15, 2012
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue Jan 11, 2011
Many cities tax are different due to amenities offered to the residents. Have you contacted city office detail the reasons.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
1 vote
Freetobe(you…, Home Buyer, Westchester County, NY
Tue Jan 11, 2011
I just came upon this while doing some research on why taxes in Westchester (particularly lower westchester) are so high. I had to laugh at Rey's response! While very well rehearsed (and I imagine that having to answer that question to potential, but discouraged homebuyers, you would need a well rehearsed, positive response to this insanity!) - I sincerely can appreciate that. However! I was raised on the north shore of LI - a town like Port Washington is very comparable to let's say...Dobbs Ferry (And Rey - same proximity to ball games, Broadway and the Adirondaks.) Very comparible commercial offset, very close in size, population. Both have water views. Both are a 30 minute train ride to NYC. Both have the same size schools to support and police officers to pay. However!! A $750K home in Dobbs Ferry (Westchester) has taxes that vary between $18K to $30K...a 4 BR/$750 home in Port Washington (Nassau) has taxes in the $6K to $11K range. Westchester is out of control!! and I believe the Middle Income Advocate is dead on. How did Nassau county manage to avoid making these deals that are killing us in Westchester? We need a page from that playbook!
1 vote
I concur.
Flag Mon Jun 1, 2015
Rey Hollings…, Agent, White Plains, NY
Fri May 22, 2009
I feel you Cliff. Nobody likes paying taxes. Most of the taxes you pay goes to the local schools and the city that you live in. In return you should be seeing benefits such education, the health services, transportation, police and fiire and other benefits.

You could move to another state but then you would have to live there! Who wants to be that far from the Yankees, Broadway, Madison Square Garden, Rye Playland, 5th Avenue, the Adirondacks, the Sound etc. That's really what you are paying for. Don't you love it!

Rey Hollingsworth Falu
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence

Direct 917-855-0277
Web Reference:  http://AskRey.net
1 vote
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Tue Jun 4, 2013
Yes, I know this is a May 22, 2009 question. Just think what has happened in New York City and the state of New York since it was posted.
If you can't afford to live there, you should consider moving.
This is happening EVERYWHERE across the country.
Downtown areas becoming gentrified...long time residents can't afford taxes as vaules increase.
Values increase influencing insurance premiums. Prices go up.
Insurance companies make money by denying coverage. To get coverage they demand new roofs, preplacement of electrical panels and all the 4 Point stuff.
Long time residents can't afford ever rising increases and must move.
New York has always been a tax happy place to live. Moving from Westchester to another city is only winking at the problem. In New York there are egos out of control. 32 oz drinks. Give me a break. They are truly convinced they know better how to spend your money...than you do. New Yorks represents 50% of the 47% that consumes taxes taken from hard working citizens.
You have many choices. Some require conviction and action. Others, just more complaining.
Which will you choose?
0 votes
Your solution is the same as not addressing the problem but rather sweeping it under the carpet. The property/school taxes in Westchester County are TOO high! School taxes are expensive because of the salaries,benefit packages, and pensions school teachers and staff receive. Have a look-see at the school budget for any city in Westchester county. You will see that 74-75% of the school budget goes to these three areas. This is the problem and not the people who live here you feel should not! This is not a God created situation where it is out of the hands of man. It is a man made problem and it will require a man made solution. How about some consideration for all the hard work and money people have spent wanting to make Westchester their home? Why should they loose their investment?
Flag Thu Oct 3, 2013
WestTax, Home Seller, Mount Vernon, NY
Tue Jun 4, 2013
Westchester is the perfect example of the beginning of the end of America!

It is became impossible to make a living and live in Westchester!

all the snobs with money don't care about it cause they can afford it.

Eventually people will be driven out of their homes.

thank God we are about to enter 4th dimension where money will no longer be the slave master.
0 votes
Danshab, , Brooklyn, NY
Sat Nov 26, 2011
I have heard that The State Government does not give Westchester any money. Most of the state budget goes to poorer counties. A lot of the money goes to NYC. So in Westchester the schools get zip from the State. Moreover--and this is big--Westchester gets zip from NY State Medicaid. The Medicaid funding comes from the County Government. Some of the town tax you pay goes to the county. Wealthier towns in Westchester pay a portion of the medicaid bills of those in poorer towns through their property tax. Plus, there are the overpaid town and school workers. The Superintendent of schools in all Westchester towns gets $250-300K. That is more, I think, than the President of the US. Cops and teachers and secretaries are overpaid.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Fri May 22, 2009
Hi Cliff, The taxes in Westchester and New York State are based on tax rates set by the municipalities. Roughly 62% of property taxes go to the schools so if the annual budget gets rejected or the school doesn't get what they were hoping for increases are implemented. The same stands for villages and towns, the money has to come from somewhere so they pass it onto the tax payers. The way homes are taxed are according to so called "fair market Value", what a buyer would pay a seller without duress. The assessments are not reviewed on an annual basis so therefore are incorrect alot of the time thus sparking tax grievances.

There are many areas that don't have outrageous taxes even in areas where alot of homes do. Some areas pay school, county, village & town taxes and another might pay just school, county, and village. It really varies.

I have a blog post about property taxes on Trulia feel free to check it out.


Christopher Pagli
Associate Broker
Legends Realty Group
0 votes
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