UPDATE: DEC. 3, 2008:
Commission's final report contains little that is new, ignores concerns of pro-education advocates
After months of hearings, the final report of the Commission on Property Tax Relief contained little that was new. In fact, the final report ignored the concerns of pro-education advocates who articulated the harm that a tax cap would do to school programs and children.
In addition, the final report did not address New York's worsening economic condition. Limiting the ability of local school districts to raise money to support schools would amount to an unfunded mandate from the state.
Just last week, Gov. David Paterson sent a letter to superintendents and school boards informing them to expect cuts when the executive budget proposal is released Dec. 16. A shortfall in state education fundings, combined with a property tax cap, would be a recipe for disaster for New York's children and public schools.
Tax Relief Tool Kit
Get the facts on the proposed tax cap - and learn why more New Yorkers prefer an income-based 'circuit breaker' approach to property tax relief.
What is a Circuit Breaker?
Just as a circuit breaker in a home protects the electrical system from an overload, a property tax circuit breaker would protect homeowners from a property tax bill that is too high relative to their household income. When asked to choose between the two proposals, New Yorkers overwhelmingly favor the circuit breaker approach over an arbitrary property tax cap.
The Governor's Tax Cap Proposal - Summary
If signed into law, S.8720-A would establish a school property tax cap for all school districts other than the "Big 5" fiscally dependent city school districts, limiting school property taxes to increases of 4% over the total amount of taxes levied for the prior school year or 120% of CPI, whichever is less.
The Governor's Tax Cap Proposal - Analysis
NYSUT and its coalition partners acknowledge the need for property tax relief, but an artificial cap - like the one endorsed by Gov. Paterson - would harm education programs while dooming efforts to close the achievement gap. Similar caps have failed in Massachusetts and other states because they do not address rising costs beyond the control of school districts, inevitably leading to cuts to education programs that serve children and other public services.
Worksheet: The Tax Cap Impact on Your School District's Funding
Use this simple, handy online worksheet to find out how much your district would have already lost if a tax cap had been implemented in 2005.