Tax Cap Bill

It is extremely important that all members of the Patchogue-Medford School District contact their representatives in the NYS Senate. The Governor has submitted Program Bill #1 which establishes a local property tax cap for all municipalities and school districts (excluding New York City). The bill was has been approved by the Assembly and will need approval in the NYS Senate to pass. The Tax Cap for school districts is set at 0% not the 2% that the Governor previously spoke about. The cap for school districts works as follows. The school district will hold a tax levy vote (School District Budget Vote) on the third Tuesday of May. If the increase in the proposed tax levy is lower than the lesser of 2% or inflation, then a simple 50% majority of the voters is required to approve the tax levy. However, if the district is asking voters to approve a levy increase that is higher than the lesser of 2% of inflation then 60% of voters must approve the tax levy. If the voters defeat the proposed tax levy (school budget vote) then they will hold a second vote on the third Tuesday of June. If the tax levy cap is defeated two times by the voters then the school district may not increase its tax levy at all from the prior year. Therefore, this bill sets a 0% tax cap on school districts. These tax cap provisions will first apply in the 2012-13 school year.

The 0% tax cap, without voter approval, is a huge issue and makes this a much more severe cap than what the Governor had previously described. Also, there are no adjustments to the capped tax levy for legal judgments, increased student enrollment levels, new property construction, pension costs, health care costs etc. This will create massive dislocation of staff in school districts that are in growing communities and those with significant tax levies.

The Sachem School District is having a “Meet and Greet” of elected officials to discuss this important topic. It will be held on Feb. 3rd at 7:30pm in the auditorium of the Samoset School. If you are unable to attend, please contact your elected officials to express your deep concerns concerning the tax cap. The following officials serve this community:

1) Ken LaValle 1st Senatorial District
2) John Flanagan 2nd Senatorial District
3) Lee Zeldin 3rd Senatorial District
4) Owen Johnson 4th Senatorial District
5) Dean Skelos Senate Majority Leader

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