What a mess our antiquated tax system has put upon our heads. People have been up in arms about high property taxes in New York, and then our state's unbalanced economy crashes because of a dependence on Wall Street "productivity" to sustain itself - or, I should say, to sustain the state's tax revenues. Now a governor that was pondering relief of those taxes is going to have to slash state aid to local governments and programs, including schools.
In truth, I never liked the property tax cap plan. You don't solve the problem by not letting school districts spend more money, even if things get more expensive. If you watch the New Paltz school board meetings, you'll quickly realize that much of what the district pays for is controlled by state mandates or ironclad union contracts over which they have little control (and which themselves are certainly worthy of a post). Controlling spending is definitely a good plan if you want to reduce taxes, but this is like reducing your kid's allowance by a buck a week but expecting him to pay for more expensive lunches anyway.
What I would like to see our local school board do is make a stink about the medieval system of taxation they're forced to follow - land has not been a useful measure of wealth for a couple of centuries, after all. David Dukler and friends should rally districts around the state to throw down the property tax system altogether, and replace it with something more equitable. Education is the responsibility of all of us, and should be paid for by all of us. We've heard louder and louder grousing about high taxes for years, and it's the job of our elected representatives to make sure Albany is really listening.
I'm terrified that as a senior citizen I'm going to want to vote down school budgets because I want to stay in my home, and that's a pretty crappy place to be. Governor Paterson's plan, though, is more than a bit shortsighted, and I'd like to see better.