Newly proposed higher property taxes on golf courses could be a major financial problem for the majority of New Yorkers. Here’s why you should care, and what you can do to protect your own finances.
New Budget, More Taxes
Clearly, if you’re in a position where people are willing to pay $25,000 just to have dinner with you, it’s hard to believe they can’t afford to pay a little more in taxes. The problem is for all those who can’t afford $25k meals on a regular basis.
So, the latest state budget brings a variety of new and higher taxes. Among them is the congestion tax to penalize those trying to drive into NYC. Or keep more people out. A new almost $12 charge on top of tolls is designed to do just that. Likely discouraging even more people from contemplating working in places like Manhattan.
Then, if property taxes alone weren’t enough, those trying to sell homes in NY and head to cheaper pastures will find new transfer taxes. This includes a variable transfer tax on selling your home and new ‘mansion’ taxes. Expect that all to be tacked onto the purchase price of your next home, driving up how much you’ll pay in annual property taxes as well.
Of course, in Nassau County on Long Island, property owners are already reeling from new assessments which may pump up their annual property tax bills by over 50%.
High Taxes for Golf Courses & You
Now, a new proposal pushing far higher property taxes on NY golf courses could be the beginning of the end for many locals and families who have lived in the state for decades.
Not many people may care about how much golf courses pay in property taxes. A fact which just happens to help tax authorities to set a new precedent which is likely to then quickly spread to everyone. Be careful.
Who really cares if Trump is being billed at 72% more than his golf courses should be taxed at? Maybe he can afford it just fine. Maybe the members and players at other local courses can pick up the tab for their rising tax bills just fine too. Even though some like Lake Shore Country Club could see their annual property tax bills go up 10x, from $110k per year to over $1M.
Golf is just a luxury, right? So, what’s the problem?
These new higher taxes come from dramatically increasing how properties are assessed. Instead of being assessed as they are currently being used, the new law would assess them at their ‘highest and best use’. In other words, the maximum possible value. They could be taxed as being worth the same as a complex with hundreds of condos, hotel rooms and a mall. Or an airport that could bring in billions each year. Of course, aside from killing more green areas, the closure of these golf courses due to high taxes that bankrupt them would also mean lost jobs, lost opportunities for young athletes, lost revenue from visitors and nonprofit fundraising events.
Why should this only apply to golf courses? No reason. So, the next step after setting this precedent is to apply the same rules to homes and small local businesses. What if your little shop is all of a sudden taxed like its a 200 unit luxury condo building with designer retailers on the ground floors? What if your home is taxed like that? No small business owners can afford that. There goes more jobs, which prices go up on everything, and more people leave the state.
The steamroller of a tax machine we have is hard to stop. It demands we think of new ways to earn and live. In the meantime, don’t get caught slacking on challenging your annual property tax bills, and be overpaying by 2-4x what you should.