June 2011 Issue
June 01, 2011

Tax cap does not provide real tax relief

Author: Betsy Sandberg
Source: NYSUT United

A lower-Hudson contingent of NYSUT members applauded Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee during a Committee of 100 advocacy meeting for standing against irresponsible tax cap proposals.

"The bottom line is public education is being threatened and we thank you for what you're doing," said Donna Ramundo of the Nyack TA.

"We do need property tax relief but a cap doesn't provide it," Jaffee said.

Two hours later the Suffern Democrat stood with a tax reform coalition decrying property tax cap proposals as a "sound bite, not sound policy."

NYSUT is asking lawmakers to link property taxes to individual income in the form of a circuit breaker as a much better way to provide real tax reform. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax cap proposal would limit the growth in property-tax levies to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, which could mean a 0 percent cap. Taxes needed to support voter-approved capital expenditures would be excluded from the cap; and Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers districts would be exempt.

Others who oppose a cap include New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, the League of Women Voters, the New York State Property Tax Reform Coalition and a number of county lawmakers. The New York state conference of the NAACP opposes the tax cap because it would harm progress made in ending the achievement gap, a position NYSUT shares.

Cuomo is going across the state pushing hard for a cap; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has promised that the Assembly will consider some form of tax cap.