Tax Cap Data Illustrates Flaws in the Law
FOR RELEASE: March 3, 2016
CONTACT: David Albert
About one in eight school districts will have to decrease the amount they can raise in property taxes in the 2016-17 school year over the current year when they bring their budgets to voters in May in order to comply with the tax cap – unless they can convince at least 60 percent of voters to override the cap, according to data released today by the New York State Comptroller.
"This year a record number of school districts are faced with a negative tax cap," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "This puts these districts in an untenable position of having to reduce their tax levy by a combined $19 million at the same time their costs are rising."
School districts are dependent on state and local resources to support their students and programs. NYSSBA estimates that $1.7 billion is needed in the 2016-17 school year for districts to maintain current programs. Given the record low school district tax cap, very few of those dollars can be raised by locally. To mitigate the damaging impact of the tax cap in the coming year, NYSSBA recommends the following changes to the school district tax cap:
- Make the allowable growth factor a consistent 2 percent
- Prohibit negative tax caps
- Account for enrollment growth in the tax cap calculation
- Redesign the budget ballot so that any proposal beyond the capped levy amount is advanced as a separate proposition requiring simple majority approval
- Exclude BOCES capital costs from the tax cap calculation
- Acknowledge increases in the tax base growth factor of properties covered by payment in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).
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