Everyone pretty much agreed on one thing during Wednesday’s Senate hearing on possible alternatives for education funding: Property taxes are universally unpopular but they will likely continue as a mainstay of school support in New York.
Moreover, with the state’s 2 percent property tax cap becoming permanent this year, the state’s vast education lobby is looking for alternate streams of revenue. Adding to the challenge is the new $10,000 federal limit on local property tax deductions. Homeowners in high tax areas like Westchester County or Long Island feel the impact of that since they used to be able to write off unlimited amounts of their school and county taxes from their income tax filings. Now they hit a ceiling at $10,000.
There are plenty of ideas to fix this but none of them would be easy to implement, experts said.
Some states are looking at things like soda taxes to help pay for schools, while others such as Michigan, have instituted statewide property taxes on secondary homes such as vacation cottages, to fund education.
“You’re doing the right thing by taking a critical look at your property tax system. It’s a great first step,” said Parker.
“There needs to be a constant conversation.”
Added Mayer, “We have a lot of work to do.”