Property Tax Cap

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News posted a quick overview of the proposed property tax cap:

For all the talk about the property tax cap that seems headed our way, something has been kind of lost in the hubbub. The details...
...- A district's tax levy increase would be capped at 2 percent or the annual increase in the consumer price index, whichever is less.
- There is a way for schools to exceed the cap. If a district proposes a budget that exceeds the tax cap, the district would need 60 percent approval of the budget, rather than the standard 50 percent.
- If a budget fails to get voter approval, the district would have to submit a revised budget subject to a public vote on the third Tuesday in June. If this revised budget exceeds the tax cap, it would require approval by 60 percent of those voting.
- If the revised budget fails to get voter approval, the district would have to adopt a budget with no tax levy increase...
The article is dead on on one point: THE DETAILS. This affects almost every conversation out there. there needs to be easier access to public documents. In this internet access age, there should be no excuses to providing them for anyone to download and read.

But back on track....The Buffalo News also ran an article (editorial) a few weeks back on how the cap has affected Taxachuetts over the past 30 years.

Something happens as the green "Welcome to New York" sign fades in the rearview mirror when you cross into Massachusetts: Taxes go down.
They are lower on clothing purchases. On gasoline, on furniture, on alcohol and on a range of goods and services. On businesses. And personal income is taxed at a lower rate.
But, most noticeably, property taxes are lower.
As a result of a 30-year-old law limiting their annual growth -- the kind of plan under debate in the New York State Capitol -- sharply rising property taxes no longer dominate kitchen table discussions in Massachusetts...


Laurie said...

This was an interesting post, both the Original school blog and the the Massachusetts Editorial, thanks for linking them.
Also, have we gotten to the point yet where lawmakers played SimCity as kids? Of course you couldn't really have money to spend until you lowered taxes.

Rocketboy said...

The only reason that taxes are going up is that they are spending more per child. Everything tells us that spending more per child does not make for a better education, except in cases of underfunded schools of course.

Regardless, you'll notice that just about every plan that includes increasing taxes, does not help deal with the greater problem of the inequality of school districts. There's no reason that a federally mandated school program should have such discrepancies. There should never be a poor school vs rich school issue. A school in one town shouldn't have laptops for students, while in one town over they are using outdated books, and cannot afford school programs.

But that's one of those issues that the you'll never see addressed with the gusto that retirement packages, or top tier health care plans are.

MJ said...

I feel the biggest problem is the inequity in family income etc. The social cost of trying to correct the issues facing children growing up in poverty is exponentially higher.

But as for overall spending: when NY spends the most per pupil and almost twice as much as 15-20 other states, it is not how much is being spent but how it is being spent.

Some 2005 census data

Rocketboy said...

Districts should be made larger, for multiple reasons. Besides the reduction in duplicate staff, but when you increase the taxing district, AND pay out an equal amount to all of the schools within that taxing district, you reduce the level of inequality.

Also, generally speaking, if you are spending twice as much, you are spending it wrong.

Rocketboy said...

Oh, and I cringe every time I hear someone complain "Well, I don't have any kids in school, why do I have to pay school taxes?" (like on WLVL recently). Regardless if you have a child in the system, you are still benefiting from living in a society where we educate the young. Or would they rather be live in a neighborhood where all the school aged children have no formal education and nothing to do all day long?

MJ said...

Interesting article in the NYTs about the achievment gap thru the eyes of statistics.


Rocketboy said...

I always like to post this up when talking about what's wrong with schools...


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