December 2013/January 2014 - School Finance
December 17, 2013

Tax reform recommendations only widen inequality gap

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT United

Recommendations made by the governor's Tax Relief Commission will not help the people who need it most, said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.

"New York's working families who rely on vital public services such as education and health care are not breathing a sigh of relief from the so-called property tax relief recommendations," he said.

The commission recommends a two-year freeze on rates and a cap on the percentage of household income that could go to property taxes. The proposal would split the $2 billion total cost between property tax relief and changes to taxes that predominantly affect businesses.

"The proposals will further exacerbate the inequality created by the property tax cap and erode local decision-making while ignoring the investments the state must make to strengthen our economy," Iannuzzi said.

"Right now, more than 70 percent of school districts are receiving less money than in 2008-09. Their ability to raise necessary operating funds has already been hampered by the property tax cap. Adding insult to injury, the Tax Relief Commission proposes to penalize local districts that exceed their cap even though very few local governments even attempt to seek approval from voters to exceed the cap."

State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento called the commission's report a "missed opportunity."

"New Yorkers want the state to invest in them and the services they rely on," he said, but the recommendations promise only "more job losses and pain."