January 01, 1900

Tax cap + budget cuts = $2.5B gap for school districts

ALBANY, N.Y. March 1, 2011 - New York state would spend $1,500 less on each public school student if the governor’s proposed education cuts and tax cap plan were implemented next year.
Overall, failure to restore the budget cuts and mitigate the tax cap would leave school districts outside of the “Big 5” with a $2.5 billion funding gap, according to research conducted by New York State United Teachers and released today by the union’s executive vice president, Andrew Pallotta. Pallotta is scheduled to testify today at a state Assembly hearing on tax caps.
“The research - based on the state’s own figures - clearly shows that the fiscal proposals currently on the table would have a devastating impact on our ability to provide a first-rate education to the children of New York,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
The $2.5 billion funding gap assumes the Executive Budget’s $1.5 billion education cut is not restored and if the governor’s tax cap program bill that recently passed the state Senate were in effect in 2011-12. (Click here for district-by-district impact of this scenario.)
“While NYSUT shares New Yorkers’ concerns about the tax burden placed on the middle-class, we also know that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support their public schools and do not favor the draconian cuts in programs and services that hurt kids,” Iannuzzi said. “Education is a priority for New Yorkers and their representatives in Albany need to recognize that fact.  They need to understand that it’s well past time to shift the tax burden away from the middle-class and instead of tax breaks for the wealthy demand that they pay their fair share.”
Pallotta said the new information shows that a bad budget coupled with a bad tax cap would erase the progress New York students are making.
“Education cuts like this - on top of last year’s cuts - would mean the loss of vital programs, larger class sizes and significant job losses in just about every school district and every legislative district in New York state,” Pallotta said. “It’s unwise and unacceptable.”
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.