(Ed. Note: The following letter was sent to Governor David Paterson and is being printed here at the author's request.)
Enclosed are our school tax bills from the past three tax years. Please note that since the tax year 2006-2007, our school taxes have risen $1,000. This at a time when the economy was starting to sink into recession, home prices have been declining significantly and we, personally, are retired (80 years old) and on a fixed income. Our tax bill for schools is at $6,520 for the 2008-2009 tax year. That means that my wife and I must put aside more than $500 every month, jut to cover our school taxes, never mind other real estate taxes.
It is starting to crush us.
We live in Levittown, a modest middle-income community. We are perfectly willing to help support education in New York State, but I submit to you that the present system of supporting our schools through real estate taxes is patently inequitable. We are being taxed on the unrealizable wealth of our supposed home value. Our home's assessment has been increasing over the last two years, even though the news media pounds away at declining values, foreclosures, etc.
Since public school education is mandated by the state it should be supported by the state directly and equally for every student from state revenues. Every citizen should be required to contribute. There should not be rich school districts and poor school districts, but, at least for core education, every child should be funded equally.
Thus, I ask you and the legislature to investigate alternative means of funding public education. Possibly an income tax devoted specifically to education is the answer. But whatever the solution, older citizens should not be weighed down by these overly high taxes, some even forced out of their homes in Nassau/Suffolk.
Thank you for your attention.
Madeline and James McCarthy