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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Welcome news on taxes
(Page 2 of 2)
While they rejoice, however, many school superintendents claim that the cap has put school districts in a tough spot. For many districts, living within the cap is difficult. As a result, many administrators are calling for Governor Cuomo to provide more financial aid in order to compensate for the lost tax revenue. Outspoken critics of the governor’s recent budget, which has an increase of only 2.6 in aid for Long Island’s schools, are calling for more.

The governor has done an excellent job of reeling in the out-of-control spending that was taking place in New York. Instead of complaining, maybe the school superintendents should take pay cuts. Here on Long Island, some superintendents are making in excess of $400,000 per year, and when you add their pensions and medical benefits, that number increases to over $500,000. That’s ridiculous!

The system is going to have to change. For years the teachers’ unions have held Albany captive, and that must end. I believe the State Legislature should look into restructuring our teachers’ pensions and benefits packages. Right now it is costing local school districts as much as $20,000 to provide health insurance for an employee and his or her family. These costs are no longer economically feasible.

The state must end guaranteed pension plans and adopt a 401(k)-type system for new education employees, and it is essential that all municipal and school employees contribute more to their medical insurance.

Right now it behooves the government at every level to cut costs. Cuomo and Skelos have pointed us in the right direction, but the taxpayers need more relief. We must continue to be vigilant in reducing the tax burden on our citizens if we want Long Island to be a community where our young people can live in the future.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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