Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s release of a video touting the new property-tax cap, state School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer said in a statement that while the cap may hold down taxes, “it’s going to come at a cost to educational programs and services in school districts, unless the state loosens its reins on school districts by providing significant mandate relief.”
The governor’s video said property-taxes are “out of control” and have grown more than 6 percent a year in the past decade, a rate that is unsustainable. He said the number of supervisors has grown by 34 percent and the ranks of teachers have increased 9 percent in the past 15 years as enrollment dropped 4 percent.
Kremer criticized Albany for years of “passing mandate after mandate onto schools and local governments.”
“We hope that the governor will use his popularity and political clout to address the true causes as to why the 15 highest taxed counties in the country are in New York. This means eliminating the mandates that take money out of our classrooms, helping schools operate more efficiently, and reforming the laws that micromanage our schools and drive up costs for taxpayers in the process,” Kremer said.
“If we are to simultaneously address the fiscal crisis and advance academic achievement as the governor proposes, we must focus resources on those things that improve results for kids. Mandate relief must become the focal point of New York’s agenda,” he said.
The property-tax cap takes effect in January, when the fiscal year for most municipal and county governments begins. School districts’ fiscal years start July 1. Municipal government bodies can override a cap, but for school budgets, which are voted on by residents, a vote of 60 percent or more is required for an override. Data from the state Comptroller’s Office shows that about 400 local governments that have indicated their budget plans intend to stay within the 2 percent cap.