Chairman Michael R. Long sent the following letter addressed to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie calling for mandate relief, lifting the cap on Charter Schools and passing the Education Investment Tax Credit.
The recently passed New York State Budget is still bloated due to out of control spending. While many localities may welcome the scraps handed them in the Aid to Localities Bill, we believe that they would have been better served if spending across the board had been cut via mandate relief, notably missing in this year's budget.
Counties throughout the state are burdened with the increasing Medicaid costs, despite the cap in Medicaid spending, and mandate relief in what must be provided would go a long way to reduce the property taxes New York's citizens must pay. The New York Association of Counties outlines in its Road Map to Mandate Relief many suggestions that can still and must be adopted during this legislative session to provide tax relief across the board, instead of picking and choosing who benefits from selective tax breaks.
We also urge you to lift the cap on Charter Schools. The road to success is a good education and it is imperative that we provide our students the necessary tools to achieve a good education; Charter Schools provide an opportunity to parents and students who are dedicated to acquiring the education foundation needed to succeed. New York, according to this Washington Post article, pays $19,552 per student, the highest in the Nation. New York taxpayers and parents are forced to pay the highest rate yet they have little or no choice when sending their child to public school. Parents should be able to choose a Charter School but are unable because of the shortage of Charters.
We urge you to lift the cap on Charter Schools before the legislative session ends this year.
We also urge you to pass the Education Investment Tax Credit, a tax credit for a donation to a scholarship fund that helps in public schools as well. The idea is to would provide incentives in the form of tax credit for donations to public education entities, local education funds, and educational scholarship organizations, as well as tax credits for certain expenses incurred by school personnel and parents who educate their children at home, qualified educators who purchase materials and supplies for classroom use.
As we noted, a solid education is the key to success, students and parents must have every assurance that when they walk into a classroom they will walk out knowing more.
Governor Cuomo, Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Heastie it is up to you to provide New York citizens the reasons to stay in New York. Lower taxes for everyone and knowledge that every student has the opportunity to have a good education are the keys to providing New Yorkers the reason to stay in our Empire State. It is not too late to accomplish these goals in this legislative session.