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New York should base school aid on sales and income taxes

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We have just completed the dreaded season of school budgets and raising school taxes. This year nearly all local school budgets were passed — one exception being Niskayuna, which wanted too large a tax increase.

But even the budgets that passed were lose-lose situations. School boards, in order to minimize taxes, had to reduce programs and cut staff. Taxpayers lost by having to pay more, the schoolchildren lost programs for their education and some ...

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comments

gina99
June 9, 2013
7:50 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The sales tax is the most regressive tax hitting the poor the hardest. Using income tax is a great idea that deserves further consideration. All residents including renters should have skin in the game. The current system is not sustainable.

ronzo
June 9, 2013
8:04 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Short of the state government funding 100% of public schools, what you suggest is a more fair and reasonable way to pay for schools. In the state where I came here from, 90% of public school education is funded by the State Education Dept. including all public school employees who's salaries are determined by the State. The other 10% is funded with the local property tax. A problem here is that the ones who have an interest in this are in the huge minority. Of that minority, the people with children in school out vote those on fixed incomes. The rest are apathetic. That's what's unfair about this entire archaic one room schoolhouse funding process.

truthteller
June 9, 2013
8:51 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I have not suggested that we raise the tax RATES - sales or income. thus there is no more burden on the poor. The state just needs to share more of its total revenue with schools as education is so important.

cidbil
June 9, 2013
11:13 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

"All residents including renters should have skin in the game."

What makes you think that renters don't have "skin in the game"? I can assure you that a portion of my monthly rent goes to pay school and property taxes. And each year when school and property taxes go up so does my rent.

Frankly, as a senior citizen on a fixed income, with no children in school, I'm not sure why I should be responsible for educating someone else's children. I think at this point in my life, I should be able to opt out.

ronzo
June 9, 2013
2:11 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

cidbil: What you state is exactly the problem here in NY. We have a responsibility to educate our children. But everyone does not have a child in a public school. It is unfair to those who do not have and never had a child/ren in the public schools be taxed at the same rate as those who have a child or many children in the public schools. All this unfairness can be eliminated if the State funded all public education from the state treasury and got rid of this byzantine method of taxing property owners and renters to death, regardless of their situation. Done that way, people would contribute to public education funding more according to their ability to pay, because the finances would come from sources other than property taxes. My question is - why won't people do something about this? People have power over politicians and legislators. If they want to use it. Why is there such apathy here in New York?

jjhehir
June 9, 2013
10:04 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Here is a good reason that school budgets should funded by an income tax. This years Nisky school budget was increased 1.8% due to pension funding only. Unlike salary negotiations, pensions are negotiated with the legislature in return for support at election time. Legislators get a benefit; employees get a benefit; the Nisky school board gets the bill, which is passed on to taxpayers.

birmy
June 14, 2013
11:08 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

If you own a $300,000 assessed him in Niskayuna you would pay about $8,000 a year in taxes. If we go to the income tax the questions is at what threshold would the owner of that home meet their current tax liability? So if the owner of the home makes $100,000 a year would you like the income tax (now adjusted to account for elimination of property taxes) to be $8,000 extra above and beyond what they pay to state and federal govt.? So every $100,000 the owner pays $8,000 extra in income tax? The point is there will always be winners and losers in this equation. The taxpayers do not vote on fire, police and state worker contracts. It is your personal opinion if you feel we get great value for the taxes paid to support those public positions. You do have a say with school budgets by voting. It sounds like since we cannot get many people to vote for school budgets for whatever reason we need to change how we do it and not have a say like other public worker jobs. Schools are not means tested. If you don't own a car you still pay taxes to fund road repair. Everyone pays to fund schools.

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