ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York’s largest teachers union and several parents sued Wednesday to overturn the state’s property tax cap as unconstitutional, contending it widens the gap between rich and poor districts and interferes with local control of schools.
The state Supreme Court lawsuit challenging the 2011 tax cap legislation names Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Education Commissioner John King Jr. and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
“While on its face the tax cap gives the appearance of equality, in effect the tax cap locks in existing inequalities and has a disproportionate, negative impact on the ability of the lower wealth districts and their voters to provide educational opportunity to school children,” according to the lawsuit filed in Albany by New York State United Teachers, along with parents of students in a half-dozen school districts.
The cap, enacted as a step toward controlling property tax rates that are among the highest in the nation, generally restricts districts and local governments from increasing their tax levy by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. Budget proposals that exceed the capped rate need a 60 percent supermajority of votes to pass.