Sunday, November 13, 2011

Police, teacher pension costs ballooning across LI

Police, teacher pension costs ballooning across LI

This is a downward spiral with no fix, until the whole system crashes. Municipal defaults will rise with time along with stress on county and state budgets. Pension is like a Ponzi scheme. Pay the workers less today and promise them goodies in the future to be paid by future residents. So when the future arrives, we have to pay for pension and the pay both at the same time. Nice !

Long Island taxpayers will pay an estimated $2.9 billion over the next two years into the state's public pension systems, a 69 percent increase over the previous two-year period.

The projections for 2012 and 2013 come as towns, villages and schools are already facing budget headaches heading into 2012. Nassau and Suffolk counties are struggling with projected deficits, and Nassau remains under control of a state fiscal watchdog.

Newsday last March reported that local municipalities and school districts would be taking a big hit in soaring contribution costs due by February 2012 to compensate for sharp stock market losses in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the state comptroller and the Teachers' Retirement System have projected rates that show contributions will rise further through 2012 and 2013.

"There has never been anything as crippling to local budgets as this pension time bomb is," said outgoing Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who has backed fundamental changes to the public pension system. "It is a miracle that schools and local governments are able to keep things going with these phenomenal costs.

"Local governments cannot stay afloat if this type of increase continues," he added.

To supporters, the public pension system -- the Employees' Retirement System, the Police and Fire Retirement System, and the Teachers' Retirement system -- is an unchangeable pact between government and its workers. By law, the pension system is constitutionally guaranteed and must be fully funded and able to cover the retirements of all workers. Historically, the appeal of many public-sector jobs was not high salaries but the benefits that came with them.

Newsday has assembled a database of pension costs that shows what governments and districts on Long Island will pay into the three systems. The database includes every public employer on the Island -- from the libraries, villages, school and taxing districts, to both counties.

Among the highlights:

By February, local governments, including Nassau and Suffolk counties, will pay an estimated $824 million for their pension contributions to the state comptroller's office, which manages the Employees' and Police and Fire systems, according to data provided by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

In addition, next fall, school districts will have to pay about $540 million into the teachers' system, according to Newsday projections based on TRS data.

By February 2013, local governments could owe an additional $973 million, based on the comptroller's projections. And school districts may see their TRS pension-related costs rise to $583 million.

The bill totals $2.9 billion over the next 24 months. In 2010 and 2011 combined, local taxpayers paid $1.7 billion over the two-year period, Newsday found.

All three pension systems are trying to "smooth" -- or stretch out -- the huge stock market declines over a five-year period, and every local public employer has to contribute enough to make up the losses.

Exactly how long that smoothing process will last is not known.

"We're well into it, but we're certainly not through it," DiNapoli said.

Smoothing out payments or not, local officials say the cost of public pensions is far too high.

"It's a horror story that's continuing," said Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos. "It's insanity that this is happening. I think it's going to increase the stress on certainly the county and every local government.

"Ultimately, if this continues -- and it's likely if the market doesn't perform -- this alone can bankrupt us or force taxes through the roof," Maragos said.

Some experts note that pension contributions are just one factor in a broader local budget crisis, pointing to the potential elimination of the so-called millionaires' tax and state aid reductions as equally critical local budget issues.

"To focus all of the responsibility on public workers is just inappropriate," said James Parrott, the chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. "There are other things going on."

The state's property tax cap has certain exemptions for pension contributions, so it's possible that localities could raise taxes to account for future increases, Parrott said.

A growing burden

Pension contributions constitute a percentage of payrolls. The Employees' Retirement System's average contribution rate for 2013 will rise to 18.9 percent of payroll, from 16.3 percent in fiscal year 2012. The Police and Fire Retirement System's contribution rate will increase to 25.8 percent of payroll in 2013, from 21.6 percent in fiscal year 2012. Most local entities pay into the Employees' Retirement System, while the counties, some villages and some police districts pay into both.

The school districts contribute to both ERS -- for their nonteaching staff -- and the Teachers' Retirement System. The TRS contribution rate will rise to 12 percent for its fiscal year 2013, the system reported last week. That's up from an 11.11 percent rate in 2012. The Teachers' Retirement System's fiscal year ends in June of each year, while the ERS and Police and Fire Retirement System end in March.

Robert Lowery, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, said most districts had to freeze or cut expenses to absorb pension costs without big tax increases.

"That's been a huge burden for school districts to wrestle with," Lowery said.

The burden has carried over to the region's libraries, which will pay $48.4 million during 2012 and 2013, compared with $25 million they paid from 2010 through 2011.

Even though many libraries are able to handle the increases now because of fund balances and other income sources, Middle Country Public Library director Sandra Feinberg said the future is uncertain.

She said her library is facing almost $2 million in pension contributions over the next two years.

"I feel we're in good shape for the next three to five years, but after that, I wouldn't guarantee anything," Feinberg said. "That's across-the-board for any municipality, but it's particularly bad for libraries that are very sensitive to costs for the community."

Several localities have tried to manage the strain by spreading out their contributions -- an option the state comptroller offered to allow employers to spread the pain. Suffolk County spread out its contributions last year, and plans to continue to do so, Levy said. Nassau County will amortize the difference between its 2011 and 2012 contributions, according to county spokesman Brian Nevin.

But that won't be enough, officials said.

"All governments must rein in costs and cut expenses to protect taxpayers from a tax hike," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.

Fixing the problem

Solutions to the pension question range from giving localities a year off from contributing -- a pension holiday of sorts -- to overhauling the state's system into a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k).

Jerry Laricchiuta, who heads Civil Service Employees Association Local 830 and advocates the pension holiday idea, said the average union pension is $18,000 a year. The pensions are the "last vestige" of public worker benefits, and shouldn't be compromised, he said.

DiNapoli said in an interview that a pension holiday could hurt the system's fully funded position. But, he added, overhauling public pensions or limiting their benefits isn't the answer either.

"I don't think we should jeopardize retirement security because of some bad decisions by Wall Street," DiNapoli said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has introduced proposals to reform the pension system, including a tier for new public employees that would increase contributions, raise the retirement age and exclude overtime. The goal is "to reduce costs for both state and local governments," said Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto.

Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar with the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., said such moves are necessary, especially given the unknown potential of another market downturn.

"If you're hit again with another market downturn, then what do you do?" he said. "The day that we can put off these choices is behind us."

Source: Newsday

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Math scores drop below national average for NY fourth-graders

On a scale of 0 to 500, average math scores for the NY state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago

New York found itself in an unwelcome spotlight Tuesday as the only state where fourth-grade math scores fell significantly during the latest round of national testing.

On a scale of 0 to 500, average scores for the state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago, federal testing officials reported. This marked the first time since 1992 that New York's performance in fourth-grade math has fallen below the national average, as recorded by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The national average is 240 this year, up from 239 in 2009.

The assessment, described as the "nation's report card," is a federally funded project that since 1969 has tested samples of students at the national and state levels.

In another blow to New York, the head of the NAEP's Governing Board singled out the state along with two others as places where overall academic progress has been particularly sluggish -- both in reading and math -- during the past eight years.

The NAEP chief, David Driscoll, a former Massachusetts education commissioner, observed in remarks prepared for a Washington news conference Tuesday that New York, Iowa and West Virginia had "stood virtually still" since 2003 in percentages of students attaining proficiency on fourth- and eighth-grade tests. Driscoll now is chairman of the NAEP's Governing Board, a bipartisan panel appointed by the U.S. education secretary to oversee testing policy.

New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. called the results "disappointing and unacceptable" and said the new Common Core curriculum will help student achievement.

"The goal is college and career readiness for every student and that starts the first day a child walks into a classroom," King said in a statement.

The Common Core curriculum is part of a multiyear, national drive to raise the bar of American students' achievement. The new standards put more emphasis on advanced literacy and applied math. The program, which is linked to international academic standards, has been approved by 44 states.

Driscoll said in a phone interview before the news conference that New York had made considerable efforts to boost scholastic achievement. Driscoll went on, however, to suggest that his own state of Massachusetts had made greater progress by aligning its testing standards early on with standards set at the national level -- a move that New York only recently began.

"I think the proof here is that Massachusetts leaped to the top of the country," Driscoll said of his state's test scores. "If you're a coach, I don't think you start the season saying you want to go two and eight."

In recent years, state school officials have conceded that the cutoff scores they set for students to reach proficiency level had dropped too low. Those cutoffs were abruptly raised in July 2010, with Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York Board of Regents, declaring that the state was doing a disservice "when we say that a child is proficient when that child is not."

What do you think, will it ever go up? Now that we are faced with rising cost of pensions, other benefits coupled with budget cuts and increase in class sizes, it seems like all downhill from here. What's your opinion ?

Source: Newsday

Saturday, October 29, 2011

11 charged in LIRR disability scheme, $1-billion fraud scheme

11 charged in LIRR disability scheme, $1-billion fraud scheme

Federal prosecutors yesterday outlined a massive decadelong scheme to collect on hundreds of phony Long Island Rail Road disability claims worth as much as $1 billion and lodged criminal charges against two Long Island doctors and seven former transit workers.

Although only seven former LIRR employees were charged, the FBI said the investigation was continuing and warned the disability payments of hundreds of others would be under scrutiny.

Eleven people altogether, including 10 Long Islanders, were named in a complaint accusing the two doctors of running "disability mills" since 1998 that OK'd hundreds of bogus claims to the federal Railroad Retirement Board, the agency that administers the benefits, on behalf of able people who golfed weekly, took long bike tours, shoveled snow and worked as landscapers.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said his office would explore civil cases to recover money, as well as new criminal cases, and FBI Criminal Division of New York special agent Diego Rodriguez urged people who had been part of the fraud to come forward -- but declined to promise leniency.

"Who has better information about this scheme . . . than those who perpetrated it?" he said. "We look forward to hearing from you. For those who choose not to contact us, there's a good chance we'll be contacting you."

The 74-page criminal complaint in federal court in Manhattan painted a picture of wholesale abuse. LIRR workers collected disability benefits at a rate 12 times higher than Metro-North workers, it said, and all 869 of the workers between 50 and 55 who retired during a five-year period ending in 2008 got disability awards.

Bharara, however, acknowledged that the entire complaint focused on events that occurred before 2008, when a New York Times investigation revealed widespread problems, and said he believed that the system has tightened up since then.

The complaint said defendant orthopedists Peter Ajemian, 62, of Syosset, and Peter Lesniewski, 60, of Rockville Centre, along with an unidentified third doctor who is deceased, accounted for 86 percent of disability claims filed from 1998 to 2011. It said the doctors received "millions of dollars" to approve more than 90 percent of the LIRR workers they saw.

The second layer of the alleged fraud involved "facilitators" -- including former LIRR union president Joseph Rutigliano, 64, of Holtsville, and Marie Baran, 64, of East Meadow, who ran the retirement board office in Westbury. They were accused of aiding the scheme by coaching applicants on how to make phony claims and which doctors to see.

The former workers who were charged, prosecutors said, were guilty of the most "egregious" violations that turned up in the investigation.

They included Gregory Noone, 62, of East Islip, a retired LIRR engineering manager, who gets $105,000 annually in pension and disability benefits but has allegedly continued to play tennis and golfed regularly -- signing up to play 140 days in nine months on one course without paying a fee because of his disability. But after the fraud investigation was reported, Noone didn't sign up for another game, the complaint says. Another, Regina Walsh of New Hyde Park, collects $108,000 annually but "has been surveilled shoveling heavy snow for approximately one-and-a-half hours," the complaint said.

A third defendant, Steven Gagliano, 55, of North Babylon, allegedly has completed a 400-mile bike tour since retiring on disability because he wasn't able to work as a signal operator. Other defendants allegedly engaged in regular gym workouts, landscaping work, and heavy lifting.

All of those accused face a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud.

Nine of the defendants were taken into custody in raids across Long Island Thursday that left stunned neighbors shaking their heads. A tenth defendant surrendered in North Carolina, and prosecutors said Lesniewski is expected to surrender Friday. Eight of those appearing in federal court in Manhattan were released on bonds, and one -- Maria Rusin, of Farmingdale -- was hospitalized after becoming ill in court.

The defendants did not enter pleas, and the only lawyer to comment was Joseph Ryan, who represents former union boss Rutigliano. "I consider the complaint a masterpiece of creative writing," Ryan said.

The complaint attributed the scheme in part to an unusual benefit available to LIRR workers, who are allowed to retire on a partial pension after 20 years at age 50, instead of having to wait for 65 to get a full pension like other workers covered by the federal railroad retirement system.

That provision, the complaint said, acts as an incentive for LIRR workers to work heavy overtime before they reach 50 to maximize the pension, and then retire early and try to make up the gap between a partial and full pension with a prearranged disability claim.

Officials said the case was based on undercover tapes, video surveillance and statistical analysis that showed that claimants worked extra overtime and took little sick time leading up to their retirement, and then claimed disabilities timed to coincide with their retirement date.

The $1 billion was a projection of the cost over the full 13-year period of the alleged conspiracy that was based on a sampling of claims approved by the doctors between 2004 and 2008.

During that period, Ajemian allegedly collected $2.2 million in fees from 453 LIRR disability patients. Those 453 have collected $90 million and are in line to collect $210 million. Lesniewski got $750,000 in fees from 134 patients who have received $31 million and are in line to get $64 million.

"Benefit programs like the Railroad Retirement Board's disability pension program were designed to be a safety net for the truly disabled, not a feeding trough for the truly dishonest," Bharara said.

Officials ranging from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to LIRR president Helena Williams joined in condemning the fraud on the railroad fund, which is financed by a combination of payroll taxes and employer taxes.

Williams said she hoped the operation would send a "strong message." At the LIRR's parent agency, MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger said that while the defendants faced loss of their phony disability payments, he wasn't sure whether contracts would allow the agency to take away their pensions.

Inspector General Martin Dickman of the federal retirement board, which has been criticized for lax procedures and rules tilted toward granting claims, said the agency will "continue to root out" fraud.

Source: Newsday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mangano 2012 budget out of touch as per Democrats, Really ?

Well if requiring all county employees to contribute 25 percent to their health insurance is out of touch then they are really living in 1999.

Nassau County Democrats came out swinging Thursday against County Executive Edward Mangano's proposed fiscal 2012 budget, calling it "out of touch with reality" and a threat to public safety if police precincts are closed.

At a news conference, members of the minority bloc castigated Mangano's $2.63 billion proposal submitted to the legislature last week. The county plans to close two police precincts, require all employees to contribute 25 percent to their health insurance and lay off 700 workers to close a projected $310 million budget gap next year.

Democrats argue that the plan relies too heavily on union givebacks that will likely never come to fruition and could lead to costly legal battles. "There isn't one realistic expectation in the budget," said Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury).

Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) said the proposal included "too many what-ifs" and did not offer a Plan B if some of the proposed savings did not materialize.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the "criticism comes from the same partisan legislators who spent lavishly over the past decade while increasing property taxes and imposing a heating tax on all homeowners."

Abrahams said that he was not prepared to offer $300 million in substitute cuts but said Democrats had found millions in wasteful spending in the budget, including $5 million in outside fees to legal counsel. With only eight votes, Democrats cannot block Mangano's budget unless at least two Republicans vote against the plan, a scenario considered unlikely by both parties. A budget must be adopted no later than Oct. 30.

Source: Newsday

Long Island Teacher - Is this the best paying job ?

New study from Bureau of Labor Statistics finds LI teachers tops in salary list New York State and Northern New Jersey

Average annual wages for teachers Nassau-Suffolk

  • $85,780: Secondary
  • $83,700: Middle
  • $86,440: Elementary 
$85k for 188 days of work and 6hrs a day means

$85,780/(188*6) = $76/ hr

WOW! $76/hr with nice health benefits and pension! That's $150+k per year ... Nice

Well here is the same stale reason why they need high salaries, cost of living in Long Island is high. Is it even higher than New York City? where teachers are paid less. The same is the issue with Suffolk and Nassau Police salaries ! 

Long Island tops the list for average teacher salaries in New York State and Northern New Jersey, according to a new federal study.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday looked at the average pay of secondary, middle and elementary schoolteachers in various metro areas around the state as of May 2010. Long Island had the highest salaries in all of those categories.

The average salary here for an elementary schoolteacher was the highest at $86,440. That contrasted with a statewide average of $67,940 and the nation's $54,330.

The five boroughs of New York City were lumped into a metro area that includes counties in Northern New Jersey and north of the city. That area's average pay for an elementary schoolteacher was $69,040.

Since at least 2008, teachers' salaries on Long Island have far outpaced the state average, and the gap has widened slightly for elementary teachers. In 2008 for example, the average $82,050 for an elementary schoolteacher here topped the state's average by $17,050. In 2010 the gap was $18,500. The gaps narrowed slightly for high school and middle school teachers.

School district salaries have long been a point of contention on Long Island because education is largely funded by property taxes. Some critics want to see lower salaries.

"They are way too high," said Fred Gorman, co-founder of Long Islanders for Educational Reform. "They don't want to take into account that they only work 188 days."

But Jeff Rozran, an English teacher at Syosset High School and president of the Teacher Association there, said, "Teachers' salaries are pretty much in line with the salaries in other regions when you look at other things like the cost of housing," he said.

A local economist echoed that view. "When you talk about teachers being paid too much, you need to compare it to what it costs to get by as a middle-class person on Long Island, which is well above what it costs in the southern United States or the Midwest," said economist Gregory DeFreitas, who heads Hofstra University's labor studies program.

Martin Cantor, an economist who heads the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy, a think tank he founded, said the higher salaries also reflect Long Island's more experienced teachers."The fact is Long Island has more experienced teachers who have been working for a longer period of time," he said.

Both economists were surprised that the federal data focused on the average salary rather than the median, which is the midpoint between the higher and lower salaries. The average salary is easily skewed by the large number of baby boomers, who are older and more highly paid, they said.

Source: Newsday

Long Island Property taxes most important issue, say LIers

No surprise here ! To stop this ridiculous rise in property taxes we have to educate our fellow LIers and contact your representative that they should demand Speaker Silver respond to the pleas of homeowners across the state and support a property tax cap in New York. It has already passed the senate but is being stalled in the Assembly by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Also this year we are seeing some enormous rise in property taxes in school districts such as
William Floyd 12.47% and Seaford 8.99%. Some school districts such as Middle country is resorting to blackmailing its residents. The deal for districts residents is either approved a 6.68% increase or the district is going to force 21.61% increase in tax levy.

Published by THOMAS MAIER at Newsday

By a wide margin, property taxes are the most important issue facing Long Islanders, according to a Newsday / News 12 Long Island / Siena Research Institute Poll. Property taxes were cited overall by 45 percent of respondents, more than twice the 21 percent who cited "availability of good jobs" as the second most pressing issue for Long Islanders. "Property taxes are really an issue here because it keeps the young people from staying on Long Island and it will prevent the older people from staying, too," Tafuri explained.

Property taxes also are a large part of why the 57 percent of those polled said Long Islanders are headed in the "wrong direction" rather than the "right track" in the poll. A similar margin said New York State was headed in the wrong direction as well.

Property taxes are a particularly raw issue in Nassau County, where 53 percent cited them as the biggest issue, compared to 36 percent in Suffolk. Islandwide, Republicans and people 55 years or older complained about property taxes the most. "The Democrats love to spend money and they have to get it from the taxpayers," said one poll respondent, a retired Republican who lives on Nassau County's South Shore.

School costs - the biggest part of property tax bills - were also on the minds of Long Islanders who cited "the quality of public schools" among their top concerns. "The first thing I would do is eliminate tenure for teachers in public schools to cut costs," said another poll respondent, a 50-year-old Garden City man who is a Republican and who did not want to give his name. Although he was happy that his two children attending local schools got a good education there, he said his family's property tax bill has been overwhelming.

Property taxes hit a chord with all respondents, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, location or party affiliation. In addition to identifying the most important issue, the poll underlined the intensity of Long Islanders' general feelings about property taxes, with 86 percent calling the issue "very important" and 11 percent as "somewhat important." Crime, schools, good jobs and health care also received strong reactions, with traffic congestion and the local environment getting milder reactions.

Why people are leaving Iong Island, NY ?

According To The Rauch Foundation click for survey. 56% of Long Islanders said it was somewhat or very likely they could leave Long Island in the next five years. 85% state property tax increases are a serious problem and 67% believe Teacher-Administrator Salary and Benefits are the reasons behind school tax increases.

A primary need in this State is to relieve the property tax burden mainly caused by school district spending. Shifting the source of revenue from property taxes to income taxes does nothing to stop the spending. Educational reform requires continued excellence in student achievement while significantly improving the efficiencies in the delivery system. That means reducing school costs. It emphatically does no good to try and dodge that bullet by diverting attention to from which pocket the money comes. To allow the present situation to continue will stagnate any efforts to reform and improve education for children

There are several concrete changes that should be made under your leadership

  • Allow only one vote on the school budget each year. Education Law Article 41, Part 1, Section 2022, paragraph 4, allows two votes on the budget if the voters reject it the first time. What is wrong with majority rule? A “no” vote under the present system is the equivalent of half a vote, since it can be tested on the ballot a second time. A “yes” vote, however, has full weight, since it cannot be challenged. This is inherently unfair and thus a civil rights matter. Change the law to require a single vote.

  • Require that a contingency budget be the same as the previous year's budget. Education Law Article 41, Part 1, Section 2023 paragraph 4, allows a contingency budget that is larger than the previous year's budget by the lesser of 4% more or 120% of the consumer price index change from the previous year, plus other adjustments.

  • Having a contingency budget that increases a district's budget by 4% to 5% above a previous budget is no penalty, it sets such a high baseline, that districts are comfortable proposing 10% to 15% increases because the fallback position is still an increase, not a penalty for poor governance.

  • Repeal the Triboro Amendment to the Taylor Law as it affects school districts. This amendment requires that the prior contract between the district and various school employee unions will remain in effect until a new contract is signed.

  • Revise Education Law Part 4, Article 3012 (c) 2 to limit tenure for any school district employee to five-years duration, renewable upon demonstration of continuing satisfactory performance and educational advancement. Furthermore, teachers who are indicted for crimes should be suspended without pay, and if proven innocent, full salary should be restored.

    • Under current law, employees have no incentive to excel, improve, or even meet satisfactory standards of performance once they have tenure. School Districts have no reasonable means to remove poor performers, as does any other business organization. Clearly this can be demonstrated by examining the numbers of teachers that have been terminated in any recent five-year period. It is easier and sometimes cheaper to let unsatisfactory employees “retire in place” while they collect full salary. A renewable five-year tenure period will give district employees a reasonable sense of long-term security, yet allow district supervisors to remove poor performers.

  • Repeal the Wick's Law as it pertains to school construction projects. This law requires school districts to hire a General Contractor and three trade contractors under four independent contracts.

  • Require that School Districts equally appropriate fund balances or reserves to reduce property taxes when budgets pass or fail.

  • Require that School District administrators and trustees declare and guarantee the accuracy and transparency of budgets and bonds presented to the voters and impose fines, loss of pension and or position for failure to comply

Long Islanders for Educational Reform

LIFER, Long Islanders for Educational Reform, was organized in 2005 to address the issue of escalating school taxes, while maintaining excellence in our educational systems.

What you must know before you vote

1) Education law does not require Boards of Education to be accurate in their estimations or to use factual information because it is available.

2) A School budget is this year's guess based on last year's guess, often without actual cost being considered. Most budgets are under spent (over taxed) by millions

3) Reserves are under spent (over taxed) millions held by Districts to improve balance sheet

4) The difference between an adopted and contingent budget is the difference between an open checkbook and limited funds. An adopted budget can be changed after the voters approved the budget for unforeseen circumstances such as a new union contract signed a day after the voters approved the budget. A Contingent budget caps spending.

Some Facts about where your property tax dollars getting used ...

  • NYS Mandates everything and only pays $3.2 Billion. LI Homeowners pay $7.4 Billion

  • 23,252 Average Cost Per Long Island Pupil

  • $1.4 Billion of Taxpayer overcharges are sitting in School District Banks and the use that money in reserves to blackmail residents into accepting proposed budget. How?

  • Boards can present fraudulent contingency budgets. The difference between contingency and a passed budget is the difference between an open check book and a spending cap.

  • The State’s per pupil spending was 65% above the national average($9,666)

  • The Property Tax share was 48.4 % the national average share was 44%

  • New York per pupil salaries was $11,042, 88% above the National average

  • The State’s per-pupil spending salaries exceeded the spending of 37 states

Long Island,NY Property Taxes - The Need for ACTION !

New Yorkers have long paid some of the highest real property taxes in the country, with homeowner taxes in most of the state ranging from 30 percent to 178 percent above the national average as a percentage of property values.

Between 1999 and 2009, total property tax levies outside New York City increased by 5.4 percent a year, more than double the average inflation rate of 2.6 percent. School taxes grew the fastest– an average of 6.3 percent a year. Property taxes in New York kept going up even as property values, personal incomes and consumer prices were going down during the severe recession of 2007-09.

Massachusetts: showing the way

The other major landmark in the property tax revolt came in Massachusetts in November 1980. By a 59-41 percent margin, that state’s voters passed Proposition 2½. The key provision capped total property taxes in each municipality at 2.5 percent of the full market value of taxable property. Most significantly, the annual growth in each municipality’s tax levy was also capped at 2.5 percent.

Bang for the buck

As of 2008, Massachusetts schools spent $13,454 per pupil—eighth highest of any state but 28 percent below New York’s top-ranking expenditure of $17,173, according to U.S. Census data. Massachusetts appears to get significantly more bang for its education buck. For example:

  • In 2009, Massachusetts pupils outscored every other state in the country on three of four NAEP reading and mathematics exams, and tied for first on the fourth. By comparison, New York’s national rankings on the same tests were much lower. A composite ranking of state NAEP scores placed Massachusetts first and New York 19th.

  • SAT scores for college-bound Massachusetts high school students were well above national averages on the critical reading, mathematics and writing sections of the test in 2010, while the SAT scores of New York’s college-bound students were below the national averages in all three categories. The difference couldn’t simply be explained a way as a product of different test-taking levels; in fact, the 86 percent SAT participation rate of Massachusetts students was slightly higher than New York’s 85 percent.

  • A “Quality Counts” ranking of state public school systems by Education Week, which gives a heavier weight to relative school spending, assigned a “B” to Massachusetts and New York, although Massachusetts spends considerably less per pupil. Massachusetts topped the Education Week K-12 Achievement Index and Chance-for-Success Index.
The Case for A Cap - Why and How It Can Work in New York