zero_percent-7629591Just two school districts — out of nearly 700 in New York — will be limited to the new zero-tax hike contingency budget provision of the state’s new property tax cap law next year.

After failing to have either of two budget proposals approved by the electorate, the 1,500-pupil Cheektowaga-Sloan and the 355-pupil Oppenheim-Ephratah school districts will implement budgets for the 2013-14 school year using the current year’s tax levy, which equals no tax hike.

Suburban Buffalo’s Cheektowaga had proposed just a one-percent tax increase in the latest round of voting. The loss means the district will have to cut another $180,000 — or about one-half of one percent of the $33 million budget. According to our BenchmarkingNY, Cheektowaga taxpayers are among the highest taxed in the state, so their resistance to even a small increase is understandable.

Oppenheim, on the other hand, is a classic example of a district that is arguably too small to be sustainable by the tiny community located in between Albany and Utica. When a proposed merger between Oppenheim and neighboring St. Johnsville failed last December — St. Johnsville residents voted in favor of a merger, while Oppenheim residents voted against it, the Oppenheim superintendent warned:

Under the present funding mechanism, if we stay single, we’re going to have a very difficult time providing a sound basic education for our students. We have quite a large budget shortfall projected for next year and for the year after that and the year after that.

Oppenheim residents wanted their own district, but don’t want to pay 2.79% more in taxes to sustain it. They will now decide how, or whether, they want to live with the consequences (the merger could be presented to the districts’ voters again this December).

Of the 24 budget revotes this past Tuesday, 19 were for districts that attempted to override the tax cap on the first try.  Three of those were successful in overriding the cap on the second try, while the other 16 passed budgets either at or under the cap.

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

As migrants flow to NY, so does red ink 

The influx of foreign migrants to New York could cost the state $4.5 billion more than expected next year, Governor Hochul today warned.  Read More

The Bill Arrives: NY Faces $9B Budget Gap Next Year 

New York’s outyear budget gaps, the shortfall between planned state expenses and state tax receipts over the next three years, has exploded to more than $36 billion, just-released documents show.  Read More

NY school spending again led US, hitting all-time high in 2020-21

Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York rose to $26,571 per pupil in 2020-21, according to the latest Census Bureau data Read More

A Tale of Two Levies

New York school districts are getting record levels of state aid. But how many are using it to cut taxes? Read More

Albany’s Belated Budget Binge 

State lawmakers have begun passing the bills necessary to implement the state budget for the fiscal year that began April 1. Read More

Hospital Lobby’s TV Campaign Spreads Misinformation About Medicaid

As New York's health-care industry agitates for more money from the state budget, two of its most influential lobbying groups are airing TV ads that make alarmist and inaccurate claims about Medicaid. Read More

Hochul’s ‘Pay and Resolve’ Push for Hospitals Triggers Déjà Vu

Two years ago last week, I wrote in the Daily News about how then-Governor Andrew Cuomo was pushing a costly change to insurance law on behalf of a hospital group that had supported his campaign through a fund-rai Read More

The Looming Collapse of a Long-Term Care Insurer Raises Questions for DFS

As the Hochul administration presses for the creation of a "guaranty fund" to bail out failed health insurers, the state is quietly moving to seize a small company that could be the fund's first target. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!