As a constituent who cares deeply about quality public education in our state, I urge you to amend the property tax cap law. The tax cap is set at 1.81 percent for the upcoming school year, which will limit each school district's ability to generate the revenue needed to educate its students.
Short of a full repeal, I urge you to enact key reforms to ensure this policy will not continue to harm our students and public education. These reforms include but are not limited to: making the cap 2 percent or the average consumer price index, whichever is greater; exempting BOCES services and program costs; exempting enrollment growth; exempting costs related to natural disasters; exempting costs for school safety and school resource officers; and removing the 60 percent supermajority provisions required to exceed the cap.
On average, school districts receive only 37 percent of their funding from the state. Without significant additional state aid, including fully funding Foundation Aid, and a reasonable adjustment to the tax cap for costs beyond their control, many school districts will lack the resources needed to fund current programs and services.
While I understand that the purpose of the tax cap is to generate savings for property owners and businesses, it has had the negative consequence of defunding public education. It should also be noted that the tax cap hurts our poorest districts the most by placing severe limits on their ability to raise funds. A similar cap on property taxes in California (Proposition 13) led to the drastic underfunding of public education, which undermined public education, especially for low-income families.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I respectfully ask that you raise this issue with the members of you conference and your leadership. I would greatly appreciate a reply to my letter.
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