Tax Cap

Voters To Decide Fate Of NY School Budgets

May 16, 2016

The fate of New York’s school district budgets is in voter hands tomorrow. Voters will also pick Board of Education representatives.

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Essex County’s tentative budget was released Monday for review by the Board of Supervisors.  The county manager presented a spending plan with an 8 percent tax levy, well over the New York state cap of .73 percent.

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The leaders of school districts, teachers unions,  and parents are presenting a united front in calling for $2.2 billion dollars more school aid next year.  They say a hard property tax cap with a zero percent increase is making it even more crucial that state lawmakers help them out.

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The Essex County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing Monday on the possibility they may exceed the New York state-mandated tax cap of .73 percent for 2016.

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In 2011 New York passed a law imposing a limit on increases in the property tax.  The cap for 2016 will be less than 1 percent and some officials worry that could severely restrict local services.

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The Essex County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Thursday to discuss the county’s proposed budget and determine if the preliminary 2015 levy can be lowered from an anticipated 9.4 percent.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a law to cap agricultural land assessment increases at two percent a year.

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Communities across New York state that have struggled to meet the state’s 2 percent tax cap face a new challenge: the level of the cap has been lowered.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York School districts that saw budgets fail in May will put plans up for new votes Tuesday.  Under the state's tax cap law, school districts have two chances to get budgets passed. If they fail both times, they can't raise taxes at all in the next school year.

A handful of districts are putting the same budgets on the ballot after narrow defeats the first time around.

Other districts made additional cuts in staffing and programs to reduce tax increases.

Officials in Essex County, New York have been working to close a 13-million dollar budget gap in the 2013 budget.  While they hope a pending sale of the county-run nursing home will make a difference, they say mandate relief from the state would be more helpful.

The rural Adirondack County has one of the lowest tax rates in New York State and has been using their fund balance to hold the line on property tax increases. Essex County Manager Dan Palmer says that may not be possible much longer.