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Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Comptroller: L.I. districts pushed to the fiscal brink
(Page 2 of 3)
That’s why Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2 percent property-tax cap is potentially so damaging to Long Island schools. First we weren’t receiving our fair share of state aid. Then, in June 2011, the governor virtually cut off Long Island districts’ only real and dependable revenue stream by signing the cap into law.

Only two and a half years later, we’re already seeing the Island’s districts begin to crack under the strain the cap is creating. In a separate report issued last week, DiNapoli said that two Long Island districts –– Bay Shore and Sachem –– are under “significant” financial stress. Seven more –– Lawrence, Valley Stream District No. 24, Copiague, East Islip, East Moriches, East Quogue and West Islip –– are under “moderate” fiscal stress. And five –– Kings Park, Manhasset, Northport-East Northport, Seaford and Wyandanch –– are “susceptible” to financial stress.

Any district under financial stress will likely have to reduce expenses. Many others will as well. To which the anti-tax crowd will sing, “Hallelujah!”

The tax cap, however, is a blunt-force instrument, a simple solution that applies no creative thinking to the complex problem at hand: Long Island is a very expensive place to live and thus to educate children.

The anti-tax crowd often notes that salaries comprise roughly 75 percent of a school district’s budget. So, tax-cap proponents say, just cut salaries and districts will have little problem meeting expenses.

Perhaps. But they will have a hard time attracting qualified educators, who will seek out cheaper places to live if they can’t earn enough to survive here.

According to the real-estate service Zillow.com, the average Nassau County home now sells for $431,000; the average Queens home, $467,000; and the average Suffolk County home, $374,500. We’re not talking about Gold Coast mansions. We’re talking about middle-class homes –– 1,750 square feet, 1½ bathrooms.

To afford a $431,000 house, you must have a 20 percent down payment of $82,600, and in order to keep your housing costs at the recommended 30 percent of your income, you need an annual household income of at least $114,720 to make a monthly mortgage payment of $1,868 plus another $1,000 per month in property taxes.

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independent1

Sorry Scott we need that 2% max cap on school taxes otherwise school districts would have no fiscal restraint.

If Long Islanders actually knew how much teachers in their districts make and what kind of pensions they receive I doubt more than 10% would be against the cap. The average teacher on LI makes 80k -100k a year and can look at a pension of 50%-70% of base salary after 25 years. Retiring at age 55 then collecting a pension for the next 30 years is killing us.

Long Island needs to do these things:

Consolidate all districts either by County or Town (Hempstead, Oyster Bay, North Hempstead) to reduce all the duplication at the top.

Get rid of the pension and make it a 401k with a guaranteed contribution by the state.

Make teachers pay for health insurance like the rest of us.

Tell teacher who have retired if you pension is over 60K a year we are cutting it by 10%.

Make it easier to fire bad teachers

School taxes should not be based on property values but should become an income tax like in NYC. Someone may live in a $500k house but have bought it at $150k so they are getting killed in taxes because they live in a nice area.

Your idea of adding apartments to houses would only cause increased enrollments and higher taxes.

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