Assemblywoman Sandy Galef Will Host a Conversation on Alternatives to Property Taxes to Fund Education

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill discusses his bill to finance schools through income taxes
February 2, 2011
Constituents and taxpayer groups in the 90th State Assembly District have approached Assemblywoman Sandy Galef on multiple occasions, asking her to consider alternatives to using local property taxes as the main source of revenue to fund schools. On Thursday, February 10th, from 7-9 pm at the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison, Galef has invited Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (101st Assembly District-Kingston), to discuss his legislation which makes provisions for the state to assume all costs of basic quality education through a formula, identifying mandatory basic services and their associated costs. It calls for phasing out, over five years, property taxes and phasing in income tax as the primary revenue generator to pay for schools. This town forum will focus on the pros on cons of his proposal.

Galef has invited some leaders from government think tanks to comment on Assemblyman Cahill’s legislation, and possibly offer alternative solutions to address school funding and unsustainable property tax increases. These experts include: Frank Mauro, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute; Edmund “E.J.” McMahon, Director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy & Senior Fellow for Tax & Budgetary Studies for the Manhattan Institute; and, Martin Reid, Deputy Director of Government Relations for the New York State School Boards Association. The Cahill Assembly bill number is A447.

“Many people have come to me suggesting that income tax is a more progressive form of taxation,” said Galef, “and would be a fairer way to fund schools, taxing those with steady and rising incomes, versus others who may have fixed assets as well as fixed incomes. I’ve heard from other people,” she continued, “who believe that because income is more volatile than property, in tough times when many people are out of work – like we are seeing now – schools would suffer if they had to count on income taxes as their main funding stream. In addition, higher New York income taxes might lead many out of the state, or to hide income earned in the state. I am grateful to my colleague Kevin Cahill for coming down to my district to talk about his bill, as well as to the think tank experts for weighing in on school funding.”

The forum will explore all of these important issues.

Desmond-Fish Library is located at 472 Route 403, Garrison (at the intersection of 9D.) For weather related questions the day of the forum, attendees are encouraged to call the Desmond-Fish Library at (845) 424-3020. For more information prior to the event, contact Sandy Galef’s office at 914-941-1111 or e-mail galefs@assembly.state.ny.us.