The New York State Senate passed a controversial tax cap on Friday that Rye’s Board of Education calls "extremely alarming". As the tax cap proposal moves to the state assembly for a vote, Rye’s Board of Ed sent a second missive on Friday calling on Rye citizens to write their elected officials and news media and tell them to vote against the tax cap.
Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld, who is running against long time incumbent Suzie Oppenheimer for State Senator and who supports the tax cap, did not miss a political beat. Feld sent out a pre-recorded telephone message to area residents Sunday stating "unfortunately for Westchester residents Suzie Oppenheimer chose to go on vacation in Alaska and failed to show up in Albany and vote on this bill…" (I personally have always wanted to go to Alaska – hey Suzie, how was the trip?).
Suzie Oppenheimer’s chief of staff is Rye Mayor Steve Otis.
Here is the Board of Education’s second missive. Note to Josh Nathan and the Board of Ed: don’t forget to include MyRye.com on your list of local media – we welcome letters to the editor (publisher (AT) MyRye.com) and comments on all our stories.
"If you do not support this legislation, please contact your elected officials as well as the local press and let them know how you feel. In response to Josh Nathan’s emailed letter yesterday, several parents contacted us and asked for a draft letter of what they should communicate to Albany. Below is the text of a draft letter as well as the contact emails of people you may want to write to. It’s not too late—please contact your representatives in Albany and let them know what you think!!
August 8, 2008
Dear Senator Oppenheimer and Assemblyman Latimer,
I am writing as a taxpayer and a parent of school age children to express concern over efforts to impose a 4% tax cap on school spending on our local school district. I am certainly concerned over rising property taxes—school, county and municipal taxes—that puts added pressure on all of us. I recognize that there are those in our community who have a very serious economic problem paying those taxes, particularly senior homeowners on fixed incomes. But it would be wrong to hurt the education of our school children by an arbitrary cap, directed solely at the schools, excluding county, town and village taxes. It seems to me that the tax cap proposal is driven by politics rather than policy.
Certainly alternatives to high taxation need to always be pursued, but we have invested in our home, our community and the children of our community and cannot have that investment jeopardized by an arbitrary tax cap that has such a potentially serious impact on the education of the children of our community. Included in alternative solutions should be a mandate relief package that reduces taxes rather than cost-shifting these expenses to our local districts. The state already has imposed a burden on all communities with unfunded mandates that cost districts millions of dollars. To now add to that a tax cap that potentially negates the forward progress we have made in achieving educational excellence, with our students not only meeting but exceeding state and national standards, is wrong and abandons local achievement and initiative by putting decisions about the education of our children in the hands of the state.
The tax cap will have unknown effects on my child’s education. Will the result be larger class sizes? Discontinuation of sports and arts programs? Ending valuable educational programs that will provide my children with the competitive education they need to enter college on a level playing field with other children across the country?
Election year or not, please resist the calls to impose such a tax cap without being sure of the impact such a tax cap will have…I want to know how my child’s future will be affected first.
1515 Mockingbird Lane
Anytown, NY 10505
email@example.com (Senator Suzi Oppenheimer)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Assemblyman George Latimer)
email@example.com (The Rye Record)
firstname.lastname@example.org (The Rye Sound Shore Review)
email@example.com (The Journal News)"