Dear Senator (Assembly Member) ________:
I am writing to express my deep concern over the possible enactment of a 2% cap on property taxes used to support our public schools.
To start, I want you to know that I fully agree that New York State homeowners carry a heavy property tax load and need relief. But going after our already strapped schools in this way will be overwhelmingly harmful for the moderate and low-wealth school districts in New York – most especially those Upstate and in your (Senate/Assembly) district.
To show the impacts a 2% property tax cap would have on our schools, I ask that you use this link (www.statewideonline.org) to view a brief video produced by the Statewide School Finance Consortium, an organization comprising over 330 Upstate public school districts.
The video utilizes the state’s own data to underscore that the long-standing inequity in education aid for many, if not all, of the school systems in your district vs. the high wealth/high income school districts in other parts of the state will continue to grow – and continue to undermine our children’s educational opportunities.
Many in state government who support the tax cap legislation say that impacts to our schools will be mitigated by follow-on relief from the many onerous and highly expensive mandates the state forces upon our schools.
Unfortunately neither the Governor nor the legislature has given us any specific indication of what this mandate relief would encompass or when we could expect to see it.
To support a tax cap on only a vague promise of mandate relief at some point in the future not only defies common sense business practices – it clearly disregards the responsibility my community has placed on me to defend the best interests of our children’s’ educational opportunities.
I respectfully ask that you take another very close look at how a property tax cap will impact the schools and families in your district. I can assure you that those of us who deeply care for and work hard in support of equality in public education will in turn take a very close look at your advocacy on this matter.