The New York Times ran an editorial today that trashes Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for a 2% property tax cap. Personally, I think Mario needs to go to Albany and whack some sense into that kid of his. Seems the NY proponents of this insanity likes to cite Massachusetts as the exemplar, but the Times came back with a realistic look at our experience with Proposition 2 1/2.
Not surprising, the Albany politicians and business leaders championing the tax cap don’t like to talk about California. Instead, they point to Massachusetts, which capped property taxes at 2.5 percent in 1980. It wasn’t a happy tale there, either. Communities starved of needed revenues were forced to lay off teachers, police officers and firefighters and to shut libraries and senior centers.
Massachusetts schools suffered so badly that the Legislature had to pump in more and more state financing, especially to the poorer school districts.
When gimmicks replace thoughtful public policy, bad things happen. The Times writes:
Mr. Cuomo calls the proposal “a game changer.” He’s right. In the same way that Proposition 13 has ravaged California, a New York property tax cap would do huge damage to already struggling schools and the state’s long-term economic competitiveness. California’s education system was once the envy of the nation. Education Week now ranks it 46th for achievement in grades K-12, below Alabama and South Carolina. New York schools currently rank 8th. For how much longer?
The most insidious part of the plan is the proposed supermajority for an “override.” Again, from the Times editorial:
Mr. Cuomo and other backers insist that communities will still have a choice. The cap could be overridden by a vote of 60 percent of residents in the tax district. (Whatever happened to a simple democratic majority?) Wealthier taxpayers may well vote that way, especially to maintain good schools. It is far less likely to happen in the poorer districts.
And, what’s this? Tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of public schools?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have already adopted a state budget that drastically cuts funds to schools and local communities — cuts that were far deeper than needed to balance the budget because of Mr. Cuomo’s indefensible refusal to extend a tax surcharge on New York’s wealthiest residents. Now they want to adopt a cheap political tool — a 2 percent property tax cap — that would only further devastate communities around the state that can least afford it.
And now, Pablo’s analogy test.
Andrew Cuomo is to Mario Cuomo as:
(a) George W Bush is to George H.W. Bush
(b) John Quincy Adams is to John Adams
(c) Barry Bonds is to Bobby Bonds
(d) Ben Quayle is to Dan Quayle
(e) David Paterson is to Basil Paterson
Seems the lesson is simple. Even if you really like the parent, don’t vote for the kid.