ALBANY, N.Y. May 2, 2011 - In a strike back against the New York State Association of Realtors' misguided campaign in support of an ill-conceived property tax cap proposal, New York State United Teachers today called on New Yorkers to remind local realtors that school quality is a top priority of prospective homebuyers.
NYSUT is asking its members - and all New Yorkers - to write, e-mail or call local realtors and ask them to underscore the harm that a destructive tax cap plan would have on education by artificially and arbitrarily constraining a community's will to invest in their local schools. Three consecutive years of state cuts to public education have already led to the elimination of programs and thousands of fewer professionals in classrooms helping students learn.
"As taxpayers, teachers are, of course, sensitive to the local property tax burden," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "A poorly conceived tax cap plan, however, would do great harm to local schools and, ironically, hurt the real estate markets' recovery. That would be bad news for realtors and the local economy, and certainly bad news for the state's students."
It's a fact that high-quality public schools matter in real estate purchases. The National Association of Realtors' own web site notes, "Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer's decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential." Another study cited on the NAR web site shows that good schools help raise property values.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the new NYSUT campaign is designed to remind local realtors that while property taxes are a valid concern, "a poorly conceived tax cap would result in the further loss of school programs and diminished public services. That would make homebuyers think twice about locating to certain areas."
Pallotta added, "There have been disastrous results from tax caps in California, Illinois and other states. Ask anyone from California about what happened when Proposition 13 was approved: That state's school system went from one of the best in the nation to, now, one of the worst. Is that what we want for New York?"
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.