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Letter: Tax Cap Effects in Franklin Square

The New York State property tax cap that went into effect in June, 2011 is not a cap at all as there are many provisions that override the cap that include the pension exemption (Sect 1)(g)ii through iv), making it possible for increases in school budgets.

High property and school taxes in the present economic downturn have become unsustainable.  This is the urgent message in Nassau County and across the state. It is time to revamp the entire system.  The middle class is being squeezed dry to support outdated school mandates that are killing communities. Case in point:  In the Franklin Square downtown area there are many vacated stores, as there are throughout Nassau County. Stores open and close their doors in a short time as rents and taxes continue to go through the roof. 

Recently in Franklin Square, the Sleepy’s Mattress chain on Hempstead Turnpike closed its half-block store, also the 21st Century realtor in business for over 25 years.  In addition, the long established St. Catherine’s Catholic School near the downtown area is closing in June, 2012.  

The glaring decline of the Franklin Square downtown area, as in other areas, has given rise to the $.99 Cent Store where there are affordable low prices for name brands. These discount stores reflect a growing need of consumers that are out-pricing established local stores and national chains, thus contributing to declining businesses and eventual closings and loss of tax revenues.

For years there have been tax revolt groups protesting the high school and property taxes. “Just a little bit more to pay” has been the mantra of those advocating increases for the “children.” (Many of whom get off the Island as soon as possible seeking jobs and housing in other lost cost areas.)

Adding up the “little bit” every year has become a monstrous tax burden that threatens everyone’s security.  If there is ever to be change in reducing school taxes, it would include consolidation of school districts, and elimination of all district superintendents, assistant superintendents and their staffs and appointing one qualified Nassau County school superintendent that would oversee all of them, as well as capping salaries and pension reviews to cut costs.

The time has passed for establishment of committees and panels and exhaustive studies to resolve the high tax problem. It has been a way to avoid solving a real need. The tax cap of 2 percent is a charade and does nothing to ameliorate or change the existing unsustainable tax burden on homeowners and community.

Katherine Aliferis
Franklin Square resident