Revolutionary Solution To Foreclosure Crisis?

A powerful, new solution to the credit crunch with regard to the foreclosure crisis--as it affects homeowners--is beginning to see the daylight of serious credibility and consideration in some suburbs north and west of New York City. It may be a solution for many municipalities and states around the country, and it's worth serious discussion throughout the progressive blogging community now.

This is major stuff! The bill, called the "Equity in Education Bill," sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston), is currently in committee at the state house in Albany.

The concept is elegantly simple:remove the cost of public education from the property tax revenue pipeline, and have it covered by a graduated income tax. Stating the obvious: this will remove the burden upon homeowners of the cost of public education.  

This is being supported and/or considered at the county level in various county legislatures throughout New York, and here's a link to show an example as to what progressive Dem activists are doing in this regard in Putnam County: http://www.planputnam.org.

(Putnam County is a about an hour north of New York City, in NY's 19th Congressional District, represented most excellently in U.S. Congress by the highly effective John Hall, D-Dover Plains.)

Here's a link for what's going on in neighboring (just to the north of Putnam County) Dutchess County: www.petitiononline.com/FAIRTAX/petition. html  .

IMHO, this is exactly the type of forward, progressive thinking, manifested in effective, innovative legislation, that many in this entire country could use as a model. If our quality of life is to be maintained--to any degree--given the credit crunch and the disasterous economy of the day, we are going to have to fight for change with regard to the Rethug's penchant for supporting the most upper class(es) on the backs of the middle and lower class. And, that starts with legislation just like this!

And, here's the legislative summary...

Bill Summary:

BILL NUMBER: A04746

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, the real property
tax law and the tax law, in relation to abolishing certain school
taxes, providing for alternative taxes and state distribution to
school districts; and repealing certain provisions of the real
property tax law and the tax law relating to certain taxes

PURPOSE: The purpose of this plan is to permit the financing of
public schools in New York State within the context of the following
objectives:

1) the elimination of the inequitable and regressive real estate tax
as the support of public schools;

2) the retention of present levels of local control by school
districts; and

3) the guarantee of quality and equality of educational opportunity
for all children of the state.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

The plan consists of the following basic principles: 1) The state
shall assume all the costs of Basic Quality Education (BQE), including
all general and special education services which the commissioner,
under guidelines established by the legislature, shall define as
necessary. Basic quality education as defined by the commissioner,
shall allow sufficient latitude so that choices may be made by local
districts with respect to their individual needs. "BASIC" shall be
defined in terms of equal services to all pupils regardless of
differences in cost in different districts for those services.

2) The "BASIC" costs shall be borne by increases in statewide business
and individual income taxes in conjunction with the elimination of
school district real estate taxes. New York City, which does not
identify the school portion of its real estate taxes, and also
collects an income tax, shall apply the full amount of the school
portion of its budget toward a reduction in the real estate tax. The
same formula shall apply to the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse
and Yonkers. Property tax reductions would be passed through to
tenants on a pro-rate basis where lease permits. Where this is
precluded by a lease, tenants will be entitled to tax credits or
rebates on their state income taxes for the duration of the lease.

3) BASIC budgets shall be submitted by local boards of education to
the State Education Department for approval.

4) All monies for BASIC budgets shall be collected by the state
through the business and personal income tax. The "BASIC Education
Tax" shall be levied as a percentage of the business or individual
income tax.

5) Transition period: During the first (seven) years after enactment,
a district may opt to receive as its BASIC BUDGET one of following: a)
budget amount of the school year during which this law shall take
effect (dollar save harmless); b) the district budget of the school
year during which this law shall take effect increased or decreased by
changes in enrollment (pupil save harmless); or c) the amount
resulting from the application of the BQE formula, but not to exceed
the average statewide increase over the prior year, plus 10% growth
ceiling. After five years only option (c) will apply.


Tags: 2008 election, credit crisis, Economy, foreclosures, homeowner, property taxes, school taxes (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

We need to decouple education from property taxes

I do think that this is a far more intelligent way to handle it.

Many schools are disintegrating from lack of repair as the older communities lose investment and sales tax revenue. That leads to de-facto segregation and extreme disparities in education.

It also isn't fair to put all of the burden for financing schools on homeowners and none on affluent renters. An income tax for everyone (NOT just for parents, as some suggest!) makes the most sense.

I don't have kids (can't afford to have any) but I DO think that paying for public schools is something societies need to do as a whole.

by architek 2008-03-20 04:31PM | 0 recs

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