Last Wednesday, the state’s largest teachers union filed a lawsuit to overturn the state’s property tax, arguing that it perpetuates inequities between wealthy and poor school districts.
Under the state’s property tax cap, which was enacted in 2011 and took effect in 2012, last year, school districts and local governments may raise property taxes each year by up to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. School districts can override the cap if 60 percent of voters approve.
The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Albany, argues that by limiting the amount of money school districts can raise, the tax cap violates the state’s constitutional obligation to provide a “sound basic education” to all students. The union is seeking to overturn the cap as it applies to school districts, not local governments.
It is very disappointing that NYSUT has chosen to go down this road and attack the property tax cap. New York State continues to have some of the nation’s highest property taxes, and the tax cap was the first step toward addressing this crisis.
In the tax cap’s first year, 95 percent of school districts passed budgets that stayed within the cap – saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Rather than undermining the property tax cap, NYSUT and its members should be working with school districts and families to ensure that our children receive a world class education that is affordable.