Tax Cap Information for Libraries

Review the Complete Legislation S.5856/A.8518

Tax Cap Information for Libraries – Updated 11/29/11
(PDF Version of Tax Cap Information for Libraries)

The tax cap legislation (S.5856/A.8518), which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on 6/24/11 (Chapter 97 Part A), even though it does not specifically mentions libraries, was intended by the Legislature and Governor to cover libraries.

For the purpose of the tax cap law, state policymakers have placed all types of libraries into the local government section of the legislation under the category of "special districts".  Therefore for libraries the impact of the tax cap law is the following:

  • The tax cap limits annual levy growth to the lesser of 2% or the rate of inflation, subject to certain limited exemptions and adjustments for growth in the full value of taxable real property due to physical and quantity change.
  • The tax cap does not include a levy necessary for expenditures resulting from (i) court orders or judgments arising out of tort actions for any amount that exceeds 5% of the local government’s tax levy for the prior fiscal year, and (ii) increases in pension contributions above a certain threshold attributable to system-wide contribution rate increases above 2 percentage points.
  • A library board can propose a budget that exceeds the tax cap by a 60% vote of their total board and if budget requires voter approval, must be approved by simple majority of voters (+50%). 
  • Capital or Bonded Projects are not exempt from tax cap, but still require simple majority of voters for approval.   If the resulting budget requires an increase in the levy above the cap then the board must approve the resulting budget by a 60 percent vote.  
  • The tax cap does not apply to the first fiscal year after a local government is newly established.
  • The State Comptroller shall determine the tax levy limit in the first fiscal year for a local government that assumes the liabilities of a dissolved local government, and in the first fiscal year following the consolidation of local governments.  

For example, a library (such as a special legislative district public library, school district public library, a municipal public library, or an association library) has its own tax levy limit if it (i) has a separate, independent elected or appointed governing board, and (ii) can require a municipality or school district to levy a tax on its behalf (which includes, where applicable, a tax levy approved by voters, i.e. Section 259/Chapter 414). To the extent the budget of a library is comprised of revenues generated by a tax levy of a municipality or school district that the municipality or school district is required to impose on behalf of the library, those tax revenues fall within the tax levy limit of the library. To the extent the budget of that library is comprised of revenues generated by the taxing authority of a municipality (such as a town or village), and that municipality is not required to impose that tax levy on behalf of the library, those tax revenues fall within the tax levy limit of the municipality.

Additional Information Links:

NYS Department of Tax and Finance: http://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/cap.htm

Tax Cap Guidelines Document: (PDF) http://www.tax.ny.gov/research/property/capguidelines.pdf

Office of the State Comptroller Information on Tax Cap: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/realprop/index.htm

New York State Education Department Tax Cap Guidance (PDF) - NOTE this document applies primarily to school districts.

NYS Tax Cap: Implications for Libraries - 1/24/2012 Webinar Presentation Slides from Office of the State Comptroller (PDF)

Tax Cap Overides

Tax Cap Adjustment 2014 - Newsday Article

Tax Cap Adjustment 2014 - Information for the Office of the Comptroller (PDF)


Sample Tax Cap Override Resolutions
(PDF Version of Sample Tax Cap Override Resolutions)

Option 1

Use this sample resolution if you plan to pass override at the beginning of your fiscal year or at your annual meeting in advance of adopting a budget.  This meets the requirements of the tax cap law while giving flexibility to the library board to adopt a budget later in the year that requires a tax levy that exceeds the tax cap or if the board approves a budget with incomplete or incorrect information to calculate the tax levy.  If a library or any local government approves a tax levy that exceeds the cap (without passing the below resolutions), then these excess funds must be put in an interest bearing account and used the following fiscal year to reduce the tax levy.

Whereas, the adoption of the (Year) budget for the (Library Name)  may require a tax levy increase that exceeds the tax cap imposed by state law as outlined in General Municipal Law Section 3-c adopted in 2011; and

Whereas, General Municipal Law Section 3-c expressly permits the library board to override the tax levy limit by a resolution approved by a vote of sixty percent of qualified board members; now therefore be it

Resolved, that the Board of Trustees of the (Library Name) voted and approved to exceed the tax levy limit for (Year) by at least the sixty percent of the board of trustees as required by state law on (meeting date).


Option 2

Use this sample resolution if you plan to pass the override at the same time you approve your budget, when you believe you have all the necessary data to correctly calculate your tax levy.

Whereas, the adoption of this (Year) budget for the (Library Name)  requires a tax levy increase that exceeds the tax cap imposed by state law as outlined in General Municipal Law Section 3-c adopted in 2011; and

Whereas, General Municipal Law Section 3-c expressly permits the library board to override the tax levy limit by a resolution approved by a vote of sixty percent of qualified board members; now therefore be it

Resolved, that the Board of Trustees of the (Library Name) voted and approved to exceed the tax levy limit for (Year) by at least the sixty percent of the board of trustees as required by state law on (meeting date).