Funding Schools And Cutting Taxes Must Be 2008 Priority

A Statement from Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R, I, C – Sag Harbor)
January 11, 2008
Governor Spitzer’s speech promised some great things for the State of New York, and, in particular, for the people of Suffolk County. I am especially pleased with the announcement to expand the University of Stony Brook, partnering with laboratories in our own Brookhaven – these are the steps our state should be taking.

In Suffolk County, where we are paying some of the highest taxes in the nation, we know how our ever-increasing tax bills are quickly emptying our wallets of money and assets we work very hard to earn. I was also pleased that the Governor has finally talked about the crisis that is this state’s broken property tax system.

I have long supported capping property taxes and am, in fact, a sponsor of the Property Taxpayer Protection Act, which is a comprehensive proposal that would cap property taxes at 4 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. My plan would also address mandate relief by stopping the outrageous unfunded mandates driving up our local taxes and taking a stand against Medicaid fraud. I am hopeful that the Governor will partner with myself and our Conference in protecting taxpayers through enacting this plan. Time will tell if this Governor and this Legislature can truly come together to put the needs of New Yorkers first.

Also, Governor Spitzer’s decision to neglect K-12 education aid in his State of the State Address is very upsetting. I have fought very hard to bring record education aid back to schools in Suffolk County, but there is a lot more that needs to be done to ensure our children are prepared to go onto higher education or into a career. Albany must provide more state aid to our schools and take action to stop the Board of Regents from cutting High Tax Aid. Our school funding system needs to be changed.