July 23, 2008

NYSUT gets the word out on 'circuit breaker' approach to property tax relief

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. July 23, 2008 - New York State United Teachers today launched a new advertising campaign exposing the major flaws of a proposed property tax cap and calling on state leaders to instead pass "circuit breaker" legislation to provide real tax relief to strapped homeowners.

The two-week, $350,000 television and radio campaign will initially air in the Capital Region and on Long Island. It may be expanded statewide – with much heavier air play – in the weeks to come, depending on developments at the state Capitol, NYSUT leaders said.

"A tax cap is a gimmick that does nothing to lower property taxes for hard-pressed New Yorkers," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "A tax cap would harm education programs, widen the achievement gap and reduce local control over schools. For those state leaders who are really serious about providing tax relief, there are other, better options, including a circuit breaker."

NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin noted that recent polls have shown that New Yorkers indeed favor a circuit breaker approach, which would help New Yorkers by holding property taxes to a percentage of their household income.

"A circuit breaker would deliver real, meaningful tax relief to those senior citizens and middle-class homeowners who need it the most, based on their ability to pay," Lubin said. "It's the right approach. It would actually reduce New Yorkers' property taxes without harming school programs."

The television ad, called No Foolin', features a senior citizen sitting in her home, reading the newspaper and noting: "Albany's talking about property tax relief, but they can't fool me. This so-called tax cap is nothing but a gimmick. Its one-size-fits-all approach for school funding takes away local control. My taxes will still go up. And deep cuts to school programs will hurt our kids."

As she pours herself a cup of coffee, she adds, "There is a better idea. It's called a circuit breaker and it would cut taxes for seniors and middle class families … right now. That sure sounds good to me."

The television spots are airing on network and cable television stations in the Albany and Long Island markets. The 60-second radio ads, which follow a similar script, can also be heard on news radio stations in both markets. The radio and TV ads are supplementing billboard and print ads that have been running in daily and weekly newspapers.

NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.


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