ALBANY, N.Y. June 3, 2011 – Deeply concerned that a property tax cap “deal” hammered out by Albany leaders would destroy the ability of public schools to meet student needs — while also failing to provide the real tax relief that New Yorkers want — New York State United Teachers today launched a new television ad campaign opposing the ill-conceived plan the New York Times called “nothing more than a political crutch.”
The $1.3 million statewide ad, which can be found at www.nysut.org and on NYSUT’s YouTube channel, quotes a scathing May 26 Times editorial that declared the proposed tax cap would “do huge damage to already struggling schools and the state’s long-term economic competitiveness” at a time when public education is already reeling from more than $3 billion in state education cuts since 2008-09.
The proposed cap, which is also strongly opposed by the New York State AFL-CIO and the state NAACP, would lock in inequities stemming from three years of painful education cuts and exacerbate the achievement gap, which schools have been working diligently to close.
“Make no mistake, educators are taxpayers, too, and support real, meaningful tax relief,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “The agreement reached by the governor and Legislature fails to provide that relief. Instead, it would lead to the elimination of needed programs, even more overcrowded classrooms and thousands and thousands of additional layoffs. The impact on municipalities would cripple community colleges and prevent local governments from providing the essential public services that middle-class New Yorkers need.”
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta added, “The only thing this ‘deal’ caps is the ability of educators and their schools to help students meet high standards. If enacted, it would destroy our schools by undemocratically allowing 40 percent of the voters to decide how much money local communities could spend to fund valuable education programs.”
The 30-second ad, which is running on network and cable stations statewide for at least 10 days, notes the Times’ editorial also called the proposed tax cap deal “disastrous,” hurting students, schools and families.
The ad urges viewers to call the Legislature and governor at 877-255-9417 and tell them, “This tax cap won’t work for anyone.”
NYSUT, the state’s largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.