Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tax Cap Is Meant To Put Districts Into Crisis

From a commentary by Fred LeBrun in the Times-Union:

It is irrefutable that the effect of the incomplete tax cap passed in June 2011, while politically popular and a contributor to the governor's high standing, has been disastrous for school districts and local governments. School districts have two sources of revenue: state aid and local taxes. The share of school budgets that is state aid has declined nearly 10 percent over the last decade, and the tax cap makes it far more difficult, especially in poorer districts, for localities to make up the difference from property tax levies. One of the arguments in the lawsuit is that because 60 percent of voters are needed to override the tax cap in a local school budget election, 41 percent of the voters saying no have more power than 59 percent who want to spend more. That totally distorts local control.

Sadly, we are watching a catastrophe unfold that will deeply affect many of our children at their most vulnerable ages, and which will have consequences for the rest of their lives.

The State Education Department has warned that between 100 and 200 school districts will be insolvent within two years.

That's up to a quarter of the state's school districts, with more predicted to follow. That means those schools won't be able to meet their obligations and will very likely be broken as teaching institutions as well. The multi-year highway to insolvency for many of them will be already littered with discarded teachers and administrators, dropped programs and advanced placement courses required for college admission, and cuts, cuts and more cuts impacting the core teaching mission.

I think the tax cap has been devised, in part, not just to keep taxes down, but to bring about the destruction of many schools districts.

Even as Cuomo and the state (and the feds) are ratcheting up the mandates, the state is cutting the aid to districts and keeping localities from increasing funding by raising taxes.

In the end, once they go belly-up financially, some of these districts look ripe for the kinds of takeovers we've seen in Michigan, where entire districts are put into receivership and handed over to some state-appointed administrator who brings in the education management organization to run the thing.
Just another example of neo-liberalism at work from our Wall Street-funded governor - and just another example of disaster capitalism at work.

Create the disaster, declare the disaster, sell the pieces off.

The same thing is happening in city after city across this nation - from Detroit to Philadelphia.

And of course Barack Obama's former right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, is trying to pull the same thing off in Chicago.


  1. Having already taken over and destabilized urban school districts, edu-profiteers are now trying to sink their fangs into suburban and rural districts: this is one of their vehicles for doing so.