Hundreds of Union Members Rally for Taxes on Ultrawealthy

Sunday, March 15, 2020
For many years now, public schools in New York State have been struggling to find sufficient funds just to keep the lights on. This financial crisis has been brought on by the Property Tax Cap Law that was enacted in 2011 and made permanent by the state legislature and the Governor in April of 2019.
The long and short of it is that while school districts have been forced to cap spending at no more than a 2% increase each year (oftentimes, that percentage increase is even less), district costs for basic needs - utilities like heating and electricity, textbooks, insurance and basic upkeep - have not also been capped at 2%. In the end, the bills the district has to pay go up by a higher amount than they can afford. The only way, therefore, that districts can balance their budgets is by making cuts to programs and excessing teachers, administrators and staff.
After almost a decade of exhausting district emergency reserves and shaving every last penny just to stay afloat, several districts in New York State are experiencing an unprecedented level of budget deficits.
Newsday reported a few weeks ago that just in this past year, the number of school districts in our state considered to be under fiscal stress grew by over 20% from the year before. Here on Long Island - considered to be one of the most affluent regions of our state - eight districts have been labeled as under fiscal stress. You can read the full breakdown in the
The notion of eliminating the tax cap law is a political landmine. Regardless of whether or not a member of the state congress understands the financial hardship the cap is placing upon our public schools, no politician wants to go on record promoting a policy that could lead to an increase of taxes for regular, hard-working citizens. With this in mind, NYSUT, and several other unions, have banded together to push our state legislature to look for alternative sources of revenue, starting with making sure that those who have so much and have benefited the most from our economy are also contributing their fair share to services needed by everyone in our state.
On Tuesday, March 3, more than 500 union members converged on the state Capitol to demand new taxes on the ultrawealthy in the upcoming state budget and press for significant investments in services and programs that benefit every day working class citizens. An article about the rally was published recently on the NYSUT website and can be read by clicking here.


As to the specific taxes that are being suggested, there was an outstanding podcast recently published by the New York State AFL-CIO which outlines some of things suggested by our union leadership which will cost the ultrawealthy very, very little but could mean so much to struggling state programs like our public schools. Click on the Union Strong Podcast logo below and look for Episode 30: Revenue Options for a More Equitable NY to hear about these suggestions.

The Union Strong podcast is a great resource for keeping up to date on current events and issues concerning not just teacher unions, but all unions across our state. Stay Union, Stay Strong!


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