Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Runs New York?

Three-quarters of New York's residents support a property tax cap, but this Albany Times-Union article points out that it's the state's public employee unions that are calling the shots:

A special study commission led by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi recommended a number of property tax fixes earlier this month, but both Suozzi and Paterson said the first priority should be to limit annual school property tax increases at 4 percent, or 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. The CPI tracks the increase in prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services.

The cap is the only way to force schools to budget more prudently, they said.

Voters across the state clearly like the idea. A Siena Research Institute poll released Monday showed that 74 percent support a proposed 4 percent cap on school property taxes.

"When you get 74 percent agreeing on something it's amazing," said Siena spokesman Steven Greenberg.

But it's not that simple. Here's why: Big-money interest groups

The state's education establishment is squarely against a tax cap. That includes the powerful New York State United Teachers, a top campaign donor to incumbents -- Democrats and Republicans alike. NYSUT can also target lawmakers who cross it.

And the gravy train just keeps chugging along...