Home
Classifieds
Contests
Subscribe
Work with us
Partly Cloudy,82°
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Editorial
Cutting the fat . . . and the meat, and the bone

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and many state legislators, view 2011’s tax cap law as one of the crowning achievements of this administration. The law, commonly known as the 2 percent tax cap, limits local property tax increases to roughly that amount per year and requires a 60 percent supermajority to approve any increase beyond it. Unlike towns, villages and sanitary districts, to which the cap also applies, schools must get their budgets approved at the ballot box, where it’s hard to get 60 percent of voters to agree on anything.

The law is due to “sunset” in 2016, but it is a popular measure, and is tied to rent and eviction controls, which makes it unlikely to vanish. Unfortunately, even 2016 will be too late to arrest some of the deleterious effects the law is having on schools. We urge legislators to revisit it before 2016. Raising the base cap to 3 percent would bring some sanity to the proceedings, as would lowering the supermajority percentage.

There are things to like about the tax cap. In the pre-cap era, school tax hikes of 6 or 7 percent were routinely approved in an almost perpetual cycle that showed no signs of slowing. School budget elections usually attract a greater number of supporters than detractors. Parents with school-age children tend to be highly motivated and organized supporters of school budgets. People who tend to oppose increased school funding — like seniors on fixed incomes struggling to stay in their homes — are a more difficult population to mobilize at election time. The tax cap and supermajority requirement were the state’s attempt to mitigate this imbalance, and to keep Long Island’s taxes, already among the highest in the nation, from further bloating.

The tax cap is a blunt instrument, but initially it had the beneficial effect of forcing school districts to examine every line in their budgets in search of savings. As a result, a lot of wasteful spending has been cut and underutilized facilities shuttered.

Comments

3 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Gregorio

Someone should ask the 2 Superintendents above if they are cutting into their marrow? Or salary, I should say. The 2% tax cap is one that was put in place in order to help alleviate huge tax increases upon the taxpayers. We are overburdened with the HUGE salaries and pension plans that the administrators of each of our school districts get paid. Am I anti- teacher, NO WAY.... But they work approximately 180 days a year and make an annual salary worthy of those that work YEAR ROUND. Then add in their pensions, WOW..... Its no wonder that we have a glut of professionally trained teachers looking for a job...... Governor Cuomo has said many time that we should be hiring Superintendents for 175K and under, which is MORE than reasonable pay for the position. In Bellmore-Merrick the taxpayers have to hire one for each elementary district and one for the high school district. This is absurd. Put it this way, when we cannot afford to pay more taxes and the pensions and salaries continue at this pace, LITTLE HOUSE on the prairie one school districts will be the rule.

When does it in.

Greg Bashaw

Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Report this
mphoenix5

The people of Baldwin have spoken with their votes. 7% is insane!!!! I voted "NO" to the budgets because I didn't see ANY concession from the Superintendent, 3 assistant Superintendents, directors or assistants of assistants. I absolutely support the teachers and students, many of my family members are teachers. I DO NOT support helping the Superintendent keep up his Mercedes payments. The key word here is "budget" not "bottomless wallet". I'm asking for austerity, frugality and common sense.

-Mary

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | Report this
mphoenix5

The people of Baldwin have spoken with their votes. 7% is insane!!!! I voted "NO" to the budgets because I didn't see ANY concession from the Superintendent, 3 assistant Superintendents, directors or assistants of assistants. I absolutely support the teachers and students, many of my family members are teachers. I DO NOT support helping the Superintendent keep up his Mercedes payments. The keyword here is "budget" not "bottomless wallet". I'm asking for austerity, frugality and common sense.

-Mary

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | Report this
Terms of Use | Advertising | Careers | Contact Us | Community Links © 2015 Richner Communications, Inc.