School Boards: Tax Freeze Would Have Chilling Effect on Educational Opportunities for Students
FOR RELEASE: March 18, 2014
CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards
The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) today issued a report highlighting the consequences the governor’s proposed property tax freeze would have on school districts across the state.
“Put simply, the tax freeze would have a chilling effect on educational opportunities for children, particularly if those children live in low-wealth districts,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
The governor’s tax freeze proposal aims to give certain property taxpayers a personal income tax credit for increases in their property tax bills for the next two years if their school districts stay within the property tax cap and, in later years, develop plans for sharing or consolidating services.
The report – entitled “The Perils of the Proposed Property Tax Freeze” – cites numerous problems with the proposal. Specifically, the proposal would:
- Remove decision making from elected school board members;
- Fail to recognize the consolidations and collaborative service sharing school districts have already undertaken;
- Create an organizational and procedural nightmare;
- Use anticipated budget surpluses created by the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment as a funding stream;
- Fail to recognize savings achieved through school districts sharing services with municipalities.
The report predicts that, without adequate state aid and an inability to raise necessary revenues at the local level, many school districts will have to engage in another round of damaging cuts to programs, services and staff.
The report identifies better ways to lower property taxes, such as providing schools and other local governments with adequate state aid and meaningful mandate relief, noting that groups representing school districts and local governments are in the process of creating a comprehensive plan to share best practices in collaborative service sharing, known as the Municipal Innovation Exchange, or “MIX.”
“The governor’s property tax freeze proposal is unworkable and would further erode the essential programs and services school districts provide for students,” said Kremer. “We hope the Legislature, during budget deliberations, will reject this ill-conceived tax freeze proposal.”
To download a copy of the report, go to:
About NYSSBA: The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 650 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.
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