Superintendents weigh in on tax cap

CHENANGO COUNTY – After reading the suggestions made last week by the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief, local school superintendents are wondering if one flat solution will really work for all of the school districts.

Last week, the commission released a report recommending New York take steps to limit property taxes, including a property tax cap that would limit the annual property tax levy to 4 percent or 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. While many of the school superintendents agree that New York does need property tax relief, several seem uncertain if a cap is the solution.

“I don’t think anybody is against the idea of property tax relief,” said Otselic Valley Superintendent Lawrence Thomas. However, the OV superintendent said he feels schools are genuinely trying to keep costs down. “I’m concerned that we’re looking at implementing a tax cap as opposed to looking at what’s in the budget that we need to keep going. Some of these expenses are outside of our control. By implementing a flat cap, that might inhibit schools’ ability to service kids,” Thomas said.

Oxford Superintendent Randall Squier agreed. “(The tax cap) would be an added restriction on what we are trying to do locally with our schools,” Squier said. “I don’t know if a cap on the tax levy is the right way to go. A cap on actual spending might be a better way. It would have a more direct impact on spending,” Squier said.

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