Gov. Cuomo’s Property Tax Cap Met With Stiff Resistance From Teachers

Albany's Plan Would Call For No More Than A 2% Jump Annually

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Are we on the verge of a “new” New York?

It’s a “game-changing” promise from Albany — a historic deal that could cap ballooning property taxes.

New York’s first property tax cap would be among the most stringent in the nation. Homeowners and business owners are saluting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for relief, but outraged teachers are complaining our children will suffer, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

It’s no secret that suburban homeowners are taxed to the hilt. On Long Island many are moving away, unable to afford skyrocketing property taxes, which are among the highest anywhere. In fact, Nassau County is ranked No. 1 in the nation, with the median household exceeding $8,000 a year.

When they screamed for relief at the polls on Super Tuesday, the governor said he was listening to the people.

The new deal that has been reached would limit tax hikes to 2 percent annually. Albany is calling it a game changer and the Long Island Business Council agrees. Richard Bivone said a tax cap would plug the hole of businesses leaving New York.

Bivone said he welcomes the cap.

“Definitely. Long Island is collapsing under the weight of taxes right now,” Bivone said.

But school boards and teachers are outraged. They say they’ve already cut back and laid off and that a cap would erode arts, sports and special programs, and hurt poorer and rural districts, which are more dependent on state aid than rich ones with greater property wealth.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said the cap would devastate the schools.

“We’re in a time now where the state has pulled back on its responsibility to fund schools. It really is a necessity for local school districts to be able to raise the funds to meet the needs that the state’s abandoning,” Iannuzzi tells WCBS 880 reporter Catherine Cioffi.

Iannuzzi said he believes that what the state should do is remove from localities the burden for raising the funds.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi: Cuomo Says Property Tax Cap Would Be A Game Changer

Eastern Suffolk BOCES said a cap means fracturing the future of the most vulnerable students.

“We believe the funding formulas that have been in place have shortchanged Long Island over the years, especially the low-wealth districts,” BOCES Chief Operating Officer Gary Bixhorn said.

Andrea Vecchio, an East Islip taxpayer activist, said she has a solution to help poorer districts: spread the wealth from commercial properties by equally distributing those tax revenues to all school districts.

“Why don’t we think about consolidating the tax base for businesses county-wide so that everyone gets a share?” Vecchio said.

The proposed property tax cap must be approved by the State Legislature and wouldn’t go into effect until 2012.

There would be exceptions to the 2 percent cap, and it would have to be renewed at the same time as rent-control laws. It could be overridden with 60 percent of a local school district vote.

Do you think this is a good idea? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Jennifer McLogan
  • LSC

    OK, as a teacher I need to point out that we do contribute to our pensions, we do contribute to our health insurance, and–as many of us are homeowners–we also pay high taxes within our own school districts. I am single with no children of my own to educate, I live in a modest neighborhood in a small house, and my taxes are over $9,000/year. That is in addition to my student loans that I am paying off because in NYS my job stipulates that I must have a Masters degree.

    Am I complaining? Absolutely not! But I am trying to point out that we don’t just float in from elsewhere, take people’s money, and float out to spend it elsewhere. We live here, too. We pay to live here, too. Our income gets reintroduced back into the local communities (very often into the ones in which we work) when we shop, eat out, get our cars fixed, buy gas, etc.

    Also, folks, a favor, please? If you have never done my job, please don’t assume that you know what I do all day or how hard I work. I’d be willing to bet that you wouldn’t want me to sit down and tell you what I think you do at work when I have never done your job. There are a number of us who were raised with a strong work ethic and believe in contributing our utmost to the education of our students. Most teachers really are incredibly devoted. We care deeply for our students, we show up to their games and plays and battles-of-the-bands and concerts, etc., to cheer them on, we spend lunch breaks and hallway duties and afterschool time working with them to help them achieve their best. I’ve jumped into the middle of fist fights to protect my little freshmen from being injured by seniors. And, yes, I am officially off for the summer, but I spend many hours at the library reworking, researching, and planning my next year’s plans over that time.

    Lastly, for those of you who think that we are not educating the children well enough, you may want to ask parents why they are texting them while they are in class. You may want to ask parents why they buy their children electronic gadgets to play with but don’t make them read a bit everyday and don’t discuss current events with them several times a week. You may want to ask some parents why they do their children’s work for them and allow the children to pass it off as their own. You may want to point out to many parents that their children are sluggish in class because they are up until all hours communicating with their friends. I am a literate person because my education began at home–I was read to. I was encouraged to read on my own. My TV time was limited. My family discussed issues at the dinner table–from the simple to the earth-shattering. I did not have a TV and/or computer in my room that I could watch/play on until all hours of the morning. We do the best we can with the situations we are given, but by the time the children get to us, they have often learned some pretty awful habits.

    Oh, and for the record, according to the Nassau County website, “There are currently 359,000 parking tickets issued prior to January 1, 2010 that have a value of $49.4 million. During the amnesty period fees and late charges will be waived.” Instead of blaming NY’s teachers for the financial crisis on LI, how about writing to your politicians and telling them that $49.4 million being collected and redirected to our school districts could help ease a portion of the local financial burdens. If that’s how much Nassau people owe in parking tickets, can you imagine what other huge pockets of money are owed the county that could help offset our taxes? Could we perhaps start attacking the mismanagement of our money before attacking our civil servants? Thank you.

    • KD

      Thank you for this response. I agree with and relate to all of it. Education must begin at home and continually be supported in a positive and constructive way by parents who care. My parents did for me what you describe in your comments, and now, I do the same for my child. The expectation must be set by parents that learning is an essential part of life and that failure is not an option. If parents do this, their children will succeed — in school and beyond.

  • Frank teacher

    Stupid people blame teachers. It’s what morons do. What about taxing the rich? Herr Cuomo won’t do that, and jeopardize his political future. Teachers are the least respected professionals in the country. Get a clue, half wit teacher badgers.

  • stravinsky

    Look at California people who support this tax cap. When prop 13 was passed in California they went from being the envy of education to ranked 46th in the country. NY is now ranked 8th…This is a tax break for millionaires…common people will still get hit with taxes. ALSO…you beed 60% to override it…what happened to democracy???…51% is majority…not 60%…WAKE UP!

    • geeb

      In the current system, a failed school budget vote gets a second chance. Democratic? We need to stop the madness and scare tactics that have caused the escalation of tax rates as a multiple of the inflaton rate.

  • Joe Bachman

    I love how you morons continually jump on the teacher-bashing bandwagon.

    First of all, we all choose our professions- don’t be upset with someone else because you made a poor life choice, or that someone else chose more wisely.

    Second, let’s take a look at how much a new teacher really makes. NYS requires that teachers that are highly educated- a minimum of 6 years of schooling. Most teachers leave college with $100k (or more) in student loans and start their first job at $40-45k a year. Here is the math: $1000/month in loans, $1000/month in a small 1 bedroom apt on Long Island, $250/month on food, $100/month on car insurance, $200/month on gas (if they are lucky). Grand total $2550/month, or $30,000!!! That is just about 100% of salary after taxes. No luxury items (like clothing) included. Sounds lavish to me!

    Finally, do you really think it is the fault of the teacher that the students seem to get dumber every year? Why don’t you take responsibility for you own children. Teach them work-ethic, morality, and respect at home where they spend 75% of their day. Teachers will then be able to educate them. Or, just blame teachers for your shortcomings as a parent- because it couldn’t possibly be YOUR fault that your kid is so dumb!

  • justfor

    In the metro area (NY, NJ suburbs that are within 50 miles of NYC) we are suffering, property tax for an average house can be up to $12,000-$24,000, and they continue to raise at double digits rates. How can anyone afford to live? Corporations are leaving the area, and want to bulldoze the building to avoid property taxes. People want to leave also, but they are stuck, jobs have left this area. Who would want to do business here?

    Pension exclusion for tax cap? You have to be kidding, vast majority of corporations got rid of their pensions 20 years ago, and only a few union controlled jobs may still have it.
    People who work for government are sucking the blood out of private corporation workers, by imposing unbearable taxes.

    Public school Superintendents make up to $400,000, Teachers make up to $150,000, Police chiefs make up to $500,000, police officers make up to $120,000+ (some up to $250,000); I am not saying that they do not deserve it, we just cannot afford to pay with 20% real unemployment. Health care and other benefits are all paid for by tax payers, while the tax payers themselves lack health insurance, pensions, and other benefits.

    If parents want non mandated services let them pay for it, instead of using other people’s money to raise their children; no kids should suffer due to the inability of their parent to pay, in such cases let the social services look at the case and give assistance. Right now poor people are paying for rich people’s kids, because property taxes are not based on household income (i.e. income of every one living at that address, not just the homeowner’s).

    Something is drastically wrong here, property taxes need to be cut by 50% and then a 2% cap without exclusions in some parts of the state should be imposed. Bring jobs back to NY NJ metro area, stop corporations from leaving to other states or to other countries such as Ireland where the corporate taxes are around 12%, US rate is 35% and it does not include property taxes which are a huge chunk.

  • Neal

    Who are they fooling? Getting people to agree too a 2% tax increase per year? What a joke! How about a 2% tax decrease instead? Thats a perfect sales pitch to steal more money. Tell these idiots to cut taxes, not fool people into lower annual raises. What the F—? Crooked politicians, they’re all Losers. Are we all that stupid?

  • John

    My entire family abandoned Long Island 5 years ago and life has never been better. For entertainment, I sit back and watch you morons elect one union-controlled Democrat after another. Seriously, *another* Cuomo?

  • John

    Summers off, fat pensions and retirements that start at age 50. Remember, it’s all for the children.

    • stravinsky

      Yeah You went to North Carolina…less pay and less taxes and if you did the math the percentage is the same (wages to taxes)

    • hugh grounds

      What ever happened to the NY Lottery which was suppose to be for education and schools?

  • mrd

    Shouldn’t listen to the teachers. We pour millions into education and the kids get dumber every year – the dumbing down of America, I call it. Foreign countries are way ahead of us. Do away with summer vacations – who farms anymore anyway – year long schools are the answer. Oh, but the teachers wouldn’t like that – toooooo much work!

  • Tom

    NY taxes are out of this world. Be it sales tax, property tax, state & city income taxes, you name it. Pensions and retirement benifits are ridiculously high for union employees. They should contribute to them with part of their paycheck just like a private sector employee contributs to their 401k. If this trend is not stopped a lot of small businesses would leave NY and the only jobs you could find would be government jobs, aka innovation & efficiency deficiency.

    • stravinsky

      Teacher do contribute…For 10 years…Know something before you say it.

      • Anthony

        Actually, as of January 2011 Tier 5 was introduced and requires that new teachers contribute to their pension for their entire career.

  • Lamont

    The Teacher Unions are only interested in their fantasticc perks allowing them to work 180 days a year,retire on salaries that the ordinary working man would have to save 2-3 million dollors to generate their kind of pensions,, retire at age 60 and oftentime lower than 60, enjoy every holiday under the sun, work a short day that permits them to get home before 5pm AND SO ON
    And for a group of people who rank lowest in college ability, $100,000 a year salaries are outrageous

  • Rolf

    The taxes are out of control, and teachers are just plain stupid. They just don’t get it. And the cops are right there too. We don’t have any more money for these people. There are thousands of better qualified candidates more than willing to work for 60% of the current salaries. If the I had to run my samll busines like they run the school districts – I would be out of business tomorrow.
    The education the teachers are giving our students cannot be that good, if the teachers are that stupid to think a union and tenure make sense.

  • chris

    NY is finished, 30% of the people here would leave if they could sell their houses. The private sector middle class is done – the only people who do well here are low income people living off the generous social programs, government workers with unreal pensions, and high income Manhattan/Westchester elites. The Democrats are in power permanently in this state because the electoral base that would vote them out – are voting with their feet instead and leaving the state. I can’t wait to leave, especially with Florida real estate so cheap now.

  • cindy

    Hey teachers! when the children’s families have to foreclose on their homes then you will be happy?

  • M.A.D


  • luci

    The teachers should mine their damn business!

  • chris

    This has no chance to pass, thats why the Governor is for it – he knows it will never pass, but he can run ads saying he is “for it”.

  • Dale Auburn

    “They say they’ve already cut back and laid off and that a cap would erode arts, sports and special programs….”

    Arts and sports and special programs shouldn’t exist anyway. Under the No Child Left Behind law, those programs are officially ILLEGAL because they do not have standardized exams.

    • markscho

      And exactly how do you get a “standardized test” in baseball: see whether 65% of the kids can hit the ball out of the school ballfield? And how exactly do you get a “standardized test” in art: see whether 65% of the kids can copy a replica of the Mona Lisa correctly?

      This precisely why the No Child Left Behind law specifically made EXCEPTIONS to these programs when the law was enacted!

    • cwf

      If they wany sports and other speacial programs let the parents pay of them. We pay for the teachers and there benifits .

  • DP

    Funny thing, the advertisements suggest Wall Street types are the only people hurt by the unfunded mandates and high property taxes paid on little ranch houses, town-houses and condos across the state. A lot of people in smaller communities don’t earn enough to pay the taxes on their property. Seems to me the people representing teachers are doing a disservice to the truth or the people they purportedly serve. After hearing these ads, I have no inclination to trust either the ad writers, the teachers’ union, nor the teachers themselves. If they lie so much about their own jobs, how can we trust them to tell the truth about history, physics, mathematics, biochemistry fiscal policy, macro- and micro- economics, cosmology, and other elementary courses all middle school students should master before progressing to high school?

  • Skipper

    The teachers’ retirement and insurance costs are becoming unsustainable overhead the taxpayers’ can no longer support. These costs need to be changed so when retirement time arrives you manage your own funds and insurance just as any individual or small business employee does.

  • Nycl Poster

    I am getting sick and tired of this nonsense. I am a native New Yorker and 52% of my paycheck is gone before I get my money and I am sick of it. I am at a point where I don’t care about children, I don’t care about the elderly…what I DO care about is not being able to take care of MY family. Things seem to be getting worst and yet, the democrats and unions still want to milk us for more money. This is just ridiculous. They keep using the line “we are going to starve old people” and the ignorant obama voters keep buying it. Can the public be THIS stupid?

  • Richie

    We can no longer afford to fund the huge pesions,and healthcare benefits for these people.Who is going to give most of the rest of us these lifetime perks?I need to keep more of my money so I can live better when I retire.Private sector has to sharpen its pencil to be successful,while the public sector just keeps sucking taxes from the people because THEY WANT MORE.NYS will continue to lose population until this changes.Higher taxes will ultimately make your house less and less sellable, not more valuable like the NYSUT commercial is claiming.

  • cbs4game

    VIVA the People’s Revoltion. All hail Fidel. May the peasents unite in this holy splendor.

  • Ray Masterman

    I agree with a property tax cap, it would teach teachers too do what they should be teaching their studenfs. Spend only what you earn, and how too live within a budget . I’m going to be leaving N.Y because on a retired fixed income I can’t afford the( it’s for the children) atitued when it’s only about pensions, pay raises , and health ins , the teachers don’t want too contribute too.

  • karlson

    Richard Iannuzzi is so wrong about his position to fund education on the backs of the taxpayers. The taxes are a burden and always were and always have been.

    Mr. Richard Iannuzzi, think about finding ways to do more with less.You and the teachers are not entitled to more and more money every year. Where do you expect your raises to come from? Not only are many people out of work, there are no prospects of them ever working again. The work environment has produced such a negative sucking sound that the homes these people once owned or paid mortgages on, are under water.

    Try to wrap your brain around this fact. Civil Service employees and teachers are being laid off. Why? Because there is no money to support their employment.

  • Gregory

    I will willingly pay for educational success, but we don’t get it. The NYS court system adjudicates students into various public school districts with predictable results. In addition, illegal aliens are in the school districts and a good number don’t belong in this country. However, a property tax cap is not really the answer. Controlling illegal immigration, providing school vouchers and if necessary, voting with your feet, and moving your assets out of NYS is the answer.

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