Background on School Tax
Reform Forum (Convention)
Assemblyman Greg Ball organized two school tax reform forums
( Oct. 20, 2007 and Feb. 2, 2008) and this convention (June 5,
2008) with the purpose of understanding the issues related to
high property tax and then proposing appropriate legislation to
New York State to address those issues caused by high property
taxes levied on residential and commercial properties to support
Ifay Chang was invited by
Mr. Ball to join his regional task force which is responsible
for organizing the above mentioned events.
What Are the Results and Findings of the School
Tax Reform Forums?
The past two events did raise the awareness of the problems
and many citizens responded and some with proposed solutions.
The task force kept records of the discussion.
Ifay Chang attended the events with the hope
to better understand the complicated issues and many proposed
solutions. He is particularly mindful to observe and guide the
discussions into a converging common understanding from (1) tax
payers, (2)beneficiary (public schools) and (3)legislators, all
of their perspectives. Hence for each forum, Dr. Chang has
created a web document for the event. They are accessible on the
School Property Tax Reform Forum Feb 2, 2008 Position
paper by Ifay Chang
Web Site Created As Forum for School Tax Issues Charts
created by Ifay Chang for 1/20/2007 forum
The task force has also circulated an interim report on the
discussion which is accessible through Ifay Chang's website on
School Board and School Tax Issues at
School Property Tax Reform Forum (Oct 20, 07) Notes
Statement for The Final School Tax Reform
The draft agenda for the June 5th convention is as follows
(changes may be made with late email correspondences):
Review Bill A08775 - This bill can be viewed on the following
just type in the bill number.
Review each of the following points and how they can or cannot
beincluded into A08775
. A tax cap of 4% or rate of inflation for local school
budgets with a 2/3 community vote to over ride.
. Allow for some flexibility for uncontrollable cost as well;
. Eliminate local control over teacher's contracts, and allow
state of NY to negotiate, sign and pay for teacher contracts.
. Eliminate all current unfunded mandates, by either funding
programs or eliminating the programs, as well as restrict the
imposing any further unfunded mandates on local school
. State-wide Inspector General, to maximize efficiency and
effectiveness for all New York School districts.
. Zero based annual budgeting process
Ifay Chang has a conflict of events on June 5th, 7 PM (His son
is receiving recognition and awards at Somers High School
Convocation) As a father and Somers School Board Member he will
have to attend the convocation. Hence he is issuing the
following proxy statement as his personal input to the convention:
A tax cap is an acceptable solution provided it will not
choke the local schools by preventing the local communities to
voluntarily increase their taxes to support their schools. A tax
cap at rate of inflation for local school budgets is a good
guideline, however, a simple majority vote should be granted to
the communities to over ride any tax cap. The simple democratic
logic behind this statement is that the votes on school budget
are generally low compared to the number of eligible voters. A
2/3 majority of a small number of voters is prone to make large
silent majority a victim of small group of activists unless by
extensive/expensive effort of schools and PTAs to lobby the silent majority into voting. This would
be counter productive and choke the communities with devastating impact on public schools.
Any damage would require far more expense to remedy. (Just
imagine if an assemblyman or senator must win with 2/3 majority
to get elected,
how expensive the election would be and we will not have any elected legislators in our government)
Ifay Chang's website on School Tax and School Board issues: