After a battle for lower assessments on two of his own properties, Tom Golisano is setting out to help Upstate New York homeowners fight for fair property taxes.
The local philanthropist and businessman says the process is flawed in many ways. Homeowners have the burden of proving their homes are assessed correctly, and can only vote in the municipalities where their primary residence is.
In an effort to fix some of this, Golisano has launched a website, taxmypropertyfairly.com to help people if they feel they have been assessed unfairly. He says people should go to their town if they feel a change needs to be made.
"The more people we get to do that, and the more work we give to the assessors and the towns, the more they're gonna realize they have a problem."
Golisano hopes the website will spark dialogue and urge people to contact their legislators.
He says education is key when it comes to such a complicated subject.
"I think the more knowledge people have, the less intimidated they are. And I think a lot of people today are intimidated. Especially when they go out to a town supervisor and he says you have to do this by this date and that by that date. There is a whole range of dates and things you've got to perform. People...it's just too much for them. So I guess that's a form of intimidation."
Golisano says there is also a bill floating around that makes assessors more responsible, and that that is a step in the right direction.
He is also planning to launch a class action lawsuit on behalf of upstate New York taxpayers who sold their homes for less than assessed value to try and help them recover the tax overpayment.
In regards to the geese problem on his Canandaigua property that has kept him from paying school taxes in Naples, he said nothing has been done to remedy the situation.