Tax Cap Tuesday

It’s nine weeks before the May 21 school budget vote.

By now all of the districts, except the Big 5 that don’t have school budget votes, should know their tax cap number. By now newspapers and television stations are reporting budget cuts, like this one in Warwick. Here’s a radio report about the Wyoming, NY schools considering cutting out hot lunch.Here’s a refresher about that property tax cap, which NYSUT says is unconstitutional. It’s rarely 2 percent because it’s based on these figures:

  • Multiply the prior year tax levy to the tax base growth factor, (if any)
  • Add payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) receivable during prior year
  • Subtract taxes levied for exemptions during prior year (not ERS & TRS) to get the Adjusted Prior Year Tax Levy
  • Once you have that figure, multiply that by what is known as the “allowable levy growth factor” which is either the Consumer Price Index or 2 percent. Subtract those payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) receivable in the coming year and you have the tax levy limit.
  • Did your district have any carryover? What that means is let’s say a district’s tax levy under that formula was 3.74 percent. But the district fears only a 2 percent budget will pass so it only adopts a 2 percent budget. That means the district would have 1.74 percent carryover for the next year.

School districts were to have reported all those figures above to the state Comptrollor, state department of Tax and Finance and the State Education Department on a form developed by the state comptroller the various data needed to calculate the tax limit in each school district. Tax and Finance will then determine if the school’s calculations are accurate and verifies the tax cap limit.

We are seeking numbers from the comptroller. Once we get them, we’ll update this post.

The next big date? School boards must adopt their 2013-14 school budgets by April 26.

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