Golisano announces campaign to help homeowners fight for fair property taxes

January 16, 2018 06:48 PM

The taxes you pay on your house are among the highest in the country. Now billionaire Paychex founder Tom Golisano wants you to join him in a class action lawsuit against New York State and your town.

The Tax My Property Fairly campaign features an online resource to help property owners understand why their property taxes are among the highest in the nation relative to property value, the assessment process, and how people can challenge their assessments if they feel their properties are not fairly assessed.

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Golisano walked into his conference room ready to take on property taxes again. His office analyzed home sales in ten towns in Monroe County that happened last June. Golisano says the numbers show in 29 percent of the sales, the assessed value of the home was higher than the sale price. 

Tom Golisano, "Tax My Property Fairly": If you sell your house for more than, or less than it's assessed for, have you not been over taxed?

Golisano's campaign is called "Tax My Property Fairly" and it includes a proposed lawsuit against the state and your town.
Tom Golisano: I don't think our goal is to collect a lot of money although that may not hurt a lot of people. We want to get the system fixed.
Brean: Would you consider running for Governor to fight this?
Golisano: I already did that once.
Brean: You did it three times.
TG: Three times.
Brean: Would you do it again to fight for this?
TG: No. Remember, first of all I'm no longer a New York resident.

Let's take a closer look at Monroe County.
Based on Golisano's research, at least 40 percent of the homes in Irondequoit, Rochester and Gates were assessed higher than the sale price.

So I went to Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini. He showed me his own research and says there were 28 homes sold last June in Gates and only two were assessed higher than the sale price.
Mark Assini, Gates Town Supervisor: Tom's effort is noble and and is appropriate.
Brean: But you disagree with the numbers he's saying about Gates.
Assini: The numbers, obviously there's a flaw in his numbers.

Assini says they assess every home in Gates every five years and the state audits the assessment.
Brean: How accurate does the state say you are?
Mark Assini, Gates Town Supervisor:  The state gave us a 100% rating.
Brean: Which means what?
Assini: It means that 95% of the time we are within 5% of the assessed value and the sale price.
Golisano's study said 40 percent of homes sold in Irondequoit last June were assessed higher than the sale price. The town disputes that. Irondequoit is doing its first town-wide assessment in 10 years.

Supervisor Dave Seeley told me "the goal of this process is to ensure that the Town's 20,000-plus properties are all assessed at their fair market value. I applaud Mr. Golisano's efforts to educate taxpayers on how they can appeal their property assessment."

Property taxes are driving a lot of families to move out of New York State.

The property taxes on a 200-thousand dollar home outside Knoxville, Tennessee are $1,060.
Outside Charlotte, North Carolina they are $2,328
In Monroe County the taxes are $6,216.

If you have sold your Upstate New York home over the past five years for less than assessed value, you can express your interest in joining the lawsuit by completing a form on

Golisano has twice challenged assessments on two of his properties in our area -- and won. Last year, he refused to pay his $90,000 school tax bill after a dispute over a severe geese problem on his Canandaigua Lake property.


Berkeley Brean

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