END OF THE WEEK WRAP UP – ADVOCACY ALERT
March 7, 2014
Active Week Leading up to Capital Conference
NYSSBA Press Conference On Property Tax Freeze
On Tuesday, Executive Director Tim Kremer joined his counterparts who represent mayors, counties and towns to announce NYSSBA’s opposition to the Governor’s property tax freeze proposal. The plan fails to acknowledge the financial needs of districts, is unnecessarily complex, would be very difficult for the state to implement and does not acknowledge the cost savings efforts school districts and local governments have made over the past number of years simply to remain educationally and fiscally solvent.
There are better ways of addressing the property tax burden, including a significant increase in state aid to public schools. If forced to address a state adopted freeze, the four organizations who represent municipal employers who must develop and pass budgets proposed, a “simple and clean” alternative to the governor’s tax freeze plan: The state could simply fund tax levy increases directly to school districts (and other taxing jurisdictions) that remain within their tax cap. This would achieve administrative savings for the state, allow taxpayers to avoid waiting for a rebate and provide for a straightforward and transparent process.
To View The Press Release
MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATIONS CALL FOR STATE-LOCAL COLLABORATION ON PROPERTY TAXES, ANNOUNCE SHARED SERVICE INITIATIVE
Advancing Our Legislative Priorities
NYSSBA is continuing a campaign to encourage enactment of the legislative priorities-adopted at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting.
We have released a series of one page policy papers, including the most recent, calling for school safety expenditures to be exempted from the calculation of the tax cap.
To View The Legislative Priority Papers Issued To Date
- ELIMINATING THE GEA
- ADDITIONAL STATE AID FOR INCREASING THE SCHOOL DAY OR YEAR
- AID FOR SCHOOL SAFETY
- DON’T CAP SCHOOL SAFETY
Lever Voting Bill - On The Move In The Senate
Authorization for school districts to use voter lever machines expires at the end of 2014. Unless the legislature extends this authority or makes it permanent, school districts will be required to use optical scan machines in 2015 school district elections. Our estimate indicates this would create a new cost to school districts of over $81 million. In some school districts, this is the total amount that can be raised under their tax levy!
NYSSBA has been working hard to ensure that action is taken to prevent this shift before the end of the legislative session. (We also provided written testimony to the Assembly Elections committee on the topic in December.)
To View The Testimony
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ELECTION LAW
There are two bills under consideration addressing this issue.
- Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel have jointly introduced S.3705/A.7818, which would permanently authorize school districts to use lever voting machines. This bill was recently reported out of the Senate Elections Committee and we expect it to pass the Senate as it did last year.
- Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper, with no Senate sponsor, has introduced A.1901. The bill would extend authorization for school districts to use the lever voting machines for two years. No legislative action has been taken on this bill yet.
Legislators need to hear how failing to act on this legislation will affect schools in their district. In parts of the state where there are no budget votes or board elections, those legislators need to hear from their colleagues about why this is important.
You can help maintain the authority of school districts to use lever voting machines by contacting your legislators.
Please Contact Your Legislators By Calling
518.455.4100 for your Member of Assembly and 518.455.2800 for your Senator
Ask for your legislators by name.
- Let your legislators know how much transitioning to optical scan machines will cost your district, whether or not you have access to free machines and illustrate what this financial loss would mean for students in your district.
- Express your commitment to working toward a permanent solution but stress the need for a current year solution as well.
- Ask your legislators to write a letter to their legislative leadership requesting action on this issue.
If you prefer to send a letter to your legislator rather than call please consider using the reasons above and send it by postal mail or email to your legislators. We ask that you cc Meghana Godambe at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share them as well as part of our legislative work.
Sample Letter and Legislator Contact Information
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