Last week, an Albany trial court judge rejected a legal challenge to the state’s real property tax cap brought by the state’s largest teachers union.
The state property tax cap law, enacted in 2011, requires a 60% majority to exceed the cap, which is which is set at 2%, adjusted for inflation and other factors. New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) challenged the law, arguing that it is unconstitutional because it erodes local control of school finances, harms impoverished districts and violates the principal of “one person, one vote.”
State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McGrath disagreed, noting that the state law does not discriminate against any specific racial, ethnic, or religious group.
The union issued a statement indicating that it plans to continue its efforts against the state’s tax cap:
“NYSUT believes strongly that the tax cap undemocratically deprives taxpayers of their constitutional right to determine local school funding levels, while exacerbating existing funding inequities that harm the state’s neediest and most vulnerable students. It is very likely that NYSUT, as permitted by today’s decision, will continue its challenge to the constitutionality of the tax cap, the effect of which is worsened by the recently enacted tax freeze.”
We’re pleased that the court rejected NYSUT’s claims, and we’re confident that the decision will be upheld on appeal. In 2015, we’ll be turning our attention toward extending the tax cap, which is currently scheduled to expire in 2016.