• Gipson Discusses Income Based School Funding
by Terry Gipson 2012
Another Albany legislative session has come to an end without the State Senate offering up any big ideas on how to significantly reduce the cost of living, improve public education, or provide new opportunities for job creation in the Hudson Valley.
But I’ve got one big idea that would address all of these issues; change the way we fund public education. New York State has a constitutional obligation to pay for education but it’s actually our property owners that cover most of the cost. Last year, when Dutchess and Putnam County residents asked their senators for tax relief, they responded with an arbitrary cap that did nothing to lower taxes.
The result is a school system that is completely out of balance and a state that is no longer affordable for senior citizens, working families, and entrepreneurs that would look here to start up a company and hire local employees.
This has to change and it would — if we stopped punishing property owners by using the assessed value of their property as the sole way of determining their ability to pay a school tax. At the very least, we need a fairer system that balances household income with the percentage paid for real property taxes.
Better still is the idea of taking property ownership completely out of the equation. Let’s replace our crippling real estate taxes with a fairer income-based system in which everyone pays based on their ability to pay.
Different ideas about the way we pay for education have been the point of discussion in Albany for sometime. (See these bills S.4239-A:Krueger, A 8702:Englebright, A6009:Cahill.) Absent from this discussion have been our senators from Dutchess and Putnam Counties.
It’s time to move forward with this conversation. It’s time to elect new leaders to the state senate that want to make this and other good ideas a reality. Let’s fund our public school system in a fair and equitable way that, first and foremost, gives every child access to a quality education, and that will allow significant reduction in both the cost of living and the cost of doing business in New York.