Yonkers mayor: Tax plan shortchanges city schools
A special committee headed by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi held a hearing Wednesday into ways the state can reduce local property taxes without taking a toll on schools.
Speaking before a crowd of local homeowners and education officials who gathered at the Yonkers Riverfront Library, Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone claimed the state education aid formula shortchanges the state's fourth largest city.
?Nearly 50 percent of every dollar we spend goes toward education, yet we receive just over 40 percent of our revenues from New York State, even though the public schools are supposed to be a state-funded responsibility,? Amicone said.
In contrast, the wealthier Rye school district receives a small amout of state aid while heavily relying on taxpayers who vote for school tax increases.
?Our legislators and the governor in Albany act like Santa Claus for the special interests,? said Rye school board member Edward Fox. ?And then they pass the bill to the local school districts.?
Most educators who attended the Wednesday meeting said they disagree with a state-imposed school property tax cap that would limit annual increases to 4 percent, but Suozzi and Gov. David Paterson think it is part of the solution.
?It?ll force our state legislators to make the changes necessary to reduce some of the expenses,? Suozzi said.