April 23, 2008

Lubin urges rejection of tax cap

Source: NYSUT News Wire

NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin testified today before the state Commission on Property Tax Relief, urging members to reject proposals to cap school property taxes.

"I will say to you what I've said to the governor, legislative leaders, and others around the state: A tax cap proposal would take us in the wrong direction at a time when New York's progress in education is being recognized," Lubin told the commission.

Lubin shared examples outlining the disastrous results tax cap proposals have caused in other states and noted caps will not contain the rising costs school districts face to cover health care or fuel. New Yorkers already have local control that they exercise every May when they vote on their school budgets, Lubin said.

The statewide union supports property tax "circuit breakers," which target aid to low and moderate-income homeowners, as an alternative to the state's STAR property tax relief program.

Lubin offered several cost-saving suggestions for schools, including a system of regionalized purchasing, transportation, school boards or administration services.

"The commission has the grave responsibility of recommending ways to appropriately reduce costs while upholding every child's constitutional entitlement to a sound, basic education," Lubin noted. "The challenge is to focus resources on services to children and reduce the non-instructional and administrative service costs through appropriate economies of scale and efficiencies."