Senator Marcellino: Governor Spitzer's Budget Wrong For Nassau And Suffolk Property Taxpayers

Carl L Marcellino

February 13, 2007

Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) today announced that Governor Spitzer’s proposed budget shortchanges Long Island schools by $68 million impacting hundreds of thousands of Nassau and Suffolk County homeowners.

The Governor’s Executive Budget reduces the share of total state school aid received by schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Traditionally, Long Island’s schools have received 13% of all state school aid a small percentage considering that Long Island has 17% of the students. Yet the Governor’s proposed budget reduces Long Island’s share of new state aid to 8%. As compared to the amount they would have received under their traditional 13% share, the Executive Budget shortchanges Nassau and Suffolk school districts by $68 million.

In comparison, the Executive Budget raises New York City’s share of new state school aid from 38% to 46%. Because of this shift from Long Island to New York City, school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties will receive an average state aid increase of 5%, while New York City’s schools will receive nearly 10% more state aid than last year.

Senator Marcellino said, "We are at a crossroads. We simply cannot continue to foot the bill for the rest of the state. Enough is enough. Either we join together and stand up for our cities, towns and villages from Montauk to Valley Stream or watch as the Governor’s proposed state budget erodes our quality of life. My mind is made up. I'm fighting for Long Island."

In addition, last year Long Island homeowners saved over $700 million through the School Property Tax Relief ("STAR") program and received $210 million in school tax rebate checks from the state. The Governor’s Executive Budget eliminates the rebate check program that benefited every homeowner and excludes families with household incomes of $80,001, or more, from fully benefiting from his property tax relief plan.

Currently, Long Island’s median household income exceeds this unfair threshold and the Governor’s plan will raise property taxes for nearly 200,000 homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In comparison, the Long Island Senate Delegation’s plan provides two and half times the new property tax relief included in the Governor’s budget proposal ($2 billion vs. $800 million), quadruples the state rebate checks and helps every homeowner.

"The bottom line is the Governor’s budget proposal shortchanges Long Island," said Senator Marcellino. "The Governor’s budget cuts Long Island’s educational aid share to 8% of the proposed new educational aid funding for the state. This reduction is unacceptable, and I urge everyone to join me in fighting to ensure that we receive our fair share of school funding."

Senator Marcellino is calling on the Governor to adopt the Senate’s plan that enhances the existing rebate program and puts hundreds of dollars in savings directly into the hands of homeowners. Under this plan, the current rebate program would be quadrupled over the next two years, resulting in an approximate estimated savings of $700 for Long Islanders with Basic STAR and $1,100 for local seniors receiving Enhanced STAR this year. This rebate would be in addition to each homeowner’s STAR savings.