Murphy Calls for Investigation into Disproportionately Taxed State Land

FDR Park in Yorktown Credits: File Photo

WESTCHESTER, N.Y. – More than 3 million acres of state-owned land are on municipal tax rolls throughout New York State, which has state Sen. Terrence Murphy wondering why about 7,000 acres in Westchester are tax-exempt.

An “egregious” example of this discrepancy, Murphy said, is Donald J. Trump State Park. The Indian Hill section of the park, which is split between Putnam and Westchester counties, is fully taxable in Putnam Valley, yet tax-exempt in Yorktown. Nearly 5,000 acres of untaxed land is located within Murphy's district, which includes Yorktown.

“By keeping 5,000 acres off of the tax rolls, New York State is only adding to the crushing tax burden that Westchester County residents deal with,” said Murphy, chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations.

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Murphy said the New York State's Office of Real Property Tax Services committee must “take a hard look at this this inconsistent and potentially discriminatory policy.”

“The investigations committee will get to the bottom of what exactly the policy is and what remedy can be sought in order to ensure all of New York State's taxpayers are being treated equally,” Murphy said.

On Friday, Murphy sent a letter to Tim Maher, the office’s director, requesting information about the state’s policy of taxing state-owned land.

“While the examples provided apply directly to my district, there are identical scenarios in other parts of the state,” Murphy wrote in the letter. “This type of tax discrimination is not only unfair but the inconsistent policy seems to have no rationale behind it.”

The Office of Real Property Tax Services’ website states, “at present, New York has a variety of compensation arrangements that have developed in a piecemeal manner over the past century,” which, Murphy said, "does not inspire confidence." In the letter, he asked Maher if his office plans on developing a standardized policy.

Murphy has requested the information from Maher no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

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