SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The tax burden is driving residents and businesses out of Westchester, County Executive Robert Astorino said during a question-and-answer session Monday night at Scarsdale Village Hall.
“We need to stop the tax madness. Westchester County is the highest-taxed county in the United States,” Astorino said. “We’ve seen how detrimental it’s been. We’re driving people out of this county, and we need to stop the exodus.”
Many of the questions focused on increasing taxes and high cost of living in the county. And many expressed displeasure at the seeing their tax bill escalate and services decrease.
“What Scarsdale is dealing with, Westchester is dealing with,” Astorino said. “In the five years before I took office, taxes went up 17 percent and spending increased 23 percent. We’ve since reduced the county tax levy by 2 percent, and that took a lot of tough decisions.”
According to Astorino, 82 cents of every tax dollar is consumed by Albany through unfunded mandates, which state government officials impose on local municipalities, including Scarsdale. The cost of these unfunded mandates has increased exponentially in the past decade.
In 2001, the county’s pension price tag was $4 million. It has since risen nearly 2000 percent, to $79 million this year. Next year’s projection exceeds $90 million.