Anti-Tax Cap resolution passes 5-0 by the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education, June 15, 2011
WHEREAS, the quality of our public schools is essential to the future of our children, our community's well-being, and the health of our local and statewide economy; and
WHEREAS, as a solution to New York's property tax crisis, the Governor of New York and members of the New York State Legislature have pledged to consider enactment of legislation imposing a 2% cap (or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower) on the annual growth in school district and local municipal tax levies (S.2706/A.3982 or A.7916); and
WHEREAS, viable alternative solutions such as the extension of the Millionaire's Tax (S.5453/A.7802), a Circuit Breaker (S00912A/a.5542A), and full reform (A.00047, S.01152/A.00416) have been rejected; and
WHEREAS, state funding for public education has not kept pace with the inflation of core costs such as health insurance, pension vesting, and energy; in conjunction with a considerable increase in unfunded mandates imposed by Albany, including the substantial new APPR process being added to the local burden with no funding with which to create and test it; and
WHEREAS, decreases in state funding directly impacts the tax levy cap itself, and has no calculated exclusion like the proposed partial pension increase exclusion; and
WHEREAS, state mandated pension fund contributions are one of the largest components of every school district and municipal budget over which local officials have little control, and are increasing at exorbitant rates annually such that bills from the State Retirement System (ERS) will increase 43% and bills from the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) will increase 21% in the 2011-12 school year; and
WHEREAS, any property tax cap must be accompanied simultaneously (1) by ending the practice of pushing state costs onto local school districts and municipalities, and (2) by a repeal of current underfunded or unfunded state mandates that require local municipalities and school districts to significantly increase spending and therefore local property taxes; and
WHEREAS, the New Paltz Central School District has already cut back on staffing of teachers and administration and made considerable program cuts and salary freezes over the past few years; and
WHEREAS, a property tax cap without repeal of costly underfunded and unfunded state mandates will inescapably lead to drastic cuts in essential local school district programs and services, as well as significant layoffs of school district employees; and
WHEREAS, the proposed cap override of 60% a supermajority vote is undemocratic, allowing 40.1% of voters to determine the result; and
WHEREAS, school districts are dependent on real property taxes to fund public education and a 2% tax cap will have significant negative impact on the quality of the New Paltz schools; and
WHEREAS, the proposed cap will not lower existing property taxes; and
WHEREAS, New Paltz Central School District Board of Education is committed to supporting property tax reform that provides actual property tax relief for its community;
BE IT RESOLVED that the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education hereby records its opposition to the passage of the 2% Property Tax Cap and that the Governor of the State of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York as the central element of any effort to provide property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York State.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Assembly Speaker and Minority Leader, and the members of the State Senate and Assembly representing residents of the New Paltz Central School District.