Yonkers City Council votes yes to tax increase

The Yonkers City Council voted to ask Albany to pass a special sales tax increase for the city that aims to end the lack of funding for the city's public schools.



The vote comes after the City Council has debated how to fill a $26 million budget gap that the school district is currently facing.



The approved measure allows the Yonkers City Council to ask state legislators to increase the city's sales tax by half of 1 percent for the next three years.



That comes to an extra 50 cents for every $100 a person spends.



City officials say the increase would bring in an estimated $14 million a year, and that money would be earmarked for education.



Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a $100 million fund to bail out financially strapped schools across the state, which would include Yonkers schools.



But Albany lawmakers haven't approved any such fund yet and that is partially why the Yonkers City Council is looking for the sales tax increase.



Without the money to close the gap, Yonkers schools could face 100 layoffs and cuts to programs like sports.



This is not the first time the Yonkers school district has faced a fiscal crisis. Last year, the state had to give the district a $28 million bailout after a $55 million accounting error created a huge budget gap.


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