Written by Joe Rizza Wednesday, 13 May 2009 15:32
One of the recommendations of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief, which was chaired by Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, was a cap on the increases of school tax levies, which is the amount of the school budget that is raised by tax dollars. The commission recommended a 4 percent tax cap.
Although the New York State Legislature never officially instituted a cap, local school districts including Elmont, Franklin Square, the Sewanhaka Central High School District and the West Hempstead School District all kept the tax levies of their proposed 2009-2010 school budgets under 4 percent (Elmont is at 2.27 percent, Franklin Square is at 3.92 percent, Sewanhaka is at 3.44 percent and West Hempstead is at 3.99 percent).
According to Suozzi, the state average for property tax levy increases for all school budgets is 2.1 percent, the lowest in the past six years. The average in Nassau County, according to Suozzi, was 2.87 percent. Of the 700 school districts in New York State, 59 districts have pierced the proposed 4 percent tax levy cap, Suozzi said.
Suozzi said the need for property tax relief is a statewide problem. “I think we’re starting to see a statewide response to it from the school districts combined with the very real concerns that budgets will be defeated based upon not only the attention that’s been given to the property tax issue but the dire economic circumstances the residents of New York State are facing,” he said.
The recent history of the average tax levy increases for New York State are as follows:
2004-2005: 8.73 percent
2005-2006: 7.48 percent
2006-2007: 6:06 percent
2007-2008: 4.26 percent
2008-2009: 3.68 percent
2009-2010: 2.10 percent
“There’s obviously a very positive trend in the tax increases that have taken place, but even with this action, it’s still an unsustainable burden. We still have the highest local taxes in America. We still have property taxes, related to school districts primarily, that are unsustainable to the residents of New York State,” said Suozzi.