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Old 04-01-2011, 07:46 PM
 
15 posts, read 29,764 times
Reputation: 15

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Well, just for you information, I do not support bombing libya or invading
Iraq. There are things which the gov should do such as defense and police etc as outlined in the constitution.
But it does not involve having joe to pay for things bob needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ponytrekker View Post
Read Adam Smith. Certain things are too important and not profitable enough to leave to the marketplace. Schools, libraries, police forces are some examples.

You support collectivism for missiles in Libya and roads in Iraq but not schools or roads in America?
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,556,571 times
Reputation: 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post
I can absolutely understand why politicians won't address it....unions. Look at what is happening in Ohio and Wisconsin. It's only a matter of time until all states win back their power from the unions. Until that happens, taxes will continue to rise exponentially.

I don't disagree at all that the problem is unfunded mandates. What I do disagree about is that until you cut off their pursestrings, nobody gets mad enough to actually do anything about it. School taxes rise 5% a year? "Oh well, it's still cheaper than private school in the city," many argue. Increase Johnny's class by 10% or cut his art program, and all hell breaks loose.

The trend everywhere is smaller government. People have had it. This county needs to learn to live within it's means just as the state does. Don't fool yourselves into thinking that we couldn't combine some school districts or lay off several administrators to save that 6%. Teachers and programs should be the last thing to be cut.
So, correct me if I'm wrong, but what you're saying is that we should cut school funding so that the schools are forced to cut teachers, enlarge class sizes, cut sports, cut extracurricular programs, cut programs for advanced and behind students, and basically trim everything to the bone so that parents will revolt and somehow force the state and federal government to get rid of unfunded mandates? As a parent, I have to say that's a stupid plan. Rather than shredding the education system, I prefer the approach of getting rid of unfunded mandates before cutting the education budget.

As for the idea that school districts somehow have the power to cut millions of dollars from the budgets without cutting teachers and programs--that's just naive and uninformed. The schools provide their budgets every year so you can see where the money goes. Administrative costs are really quite insignificant in the scope of things. The vast majority of spending is on programs, teachers, and all those unfunded mandates and costs that school districts are not allowed to cut or trim by law. Could some of the smallest districts cut costs by combining? Sure--but it wont save 6%.

Cutting education costs and forcing tax caps without reducing unfunded mandates isn't about "small government" and reducing costs--it's about stupid government spending tax dollars on the wrong things and sacrificing the health of the country.

My school district raised taxes by 2.5% last year--adding less than $300 to my bill. I voted for the proposed budget and was happy to pay the extra few bucks to maintain the great education my son is getting. If the district proposes increases this year that will add another $300 or even $600 to my bill I will again vote for it. But the decision of whether or not to pass the budget and increase taxes will be up to me and my neighbors--not up to you or Cuomo or anyone else.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,487 posts, read 3,737,738 times
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So if you are happy to pay the additional $600 or so a year, every year (which you do realize is an extra $6000 after 10 years - more than most people pay in TOTAL for property taxes annually), and you are against any amount of a tax cap, what motivation does anyone have to reduce unfunded mandates? The state of NY, and especially Westchester County, doesn't have a revenue problem. They do have a spending problem, though.

You are right - I haven't looked at the budget line for line. But I do know that this county outspends most other districts in the country by 50-100%. Nobody could argue that the schools here are not great, but are they twice as great as anywhere else? Maybe, maybe not.
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Old 04-02-2011, 02:35 PM
 
258 posts, read 773,229 times
Reputation: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post
So if you are happy to pay the additional $600 or so a year, every year (which you do realize is an extra $6000 after 10 years - more than most people pay in TOTAL for property taxes annually), and you are against any amount of a tax cap, what motivation does anyone have to reduce unfunded mandates? The state of NY, and especially Westchester County, doesn't have a revenue problem. They do have a spending problem, though.

You are right - I haven't looked at the budget line for line. But I do know that this county outspends most other districts in the country by 50-100%. Nobody could argue that the schools here are not great, but are they twice as great as anywhere else? Maybe, maybe not.
But if the residents vote to pay for it, than that power should not be taken away from us. We are shown our town budget, asked for input and than we vote on it. I think that we need to stop the unfunded mandates before making a tax cap not after. Why should we cut programs we are willing to pay for? I am sure there are tons of things that can be cut from the State budget before education.

As for combining districts, I would be so upset. I chose a small district on purpose and I wouldn't want that to change. Do larger districts pay less taxes? Yorktown has higher taxes than North Salem and one has one of the largest districts in Upper Westchester and one has the smallest.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:44 PM
 
Location: New York
86 posts, read 240,259 times
Reputation: 51
I cannot for the life of me understand the logic of folks who live in a place like Westchester and complain about the existence of public schools and other socialized services - the quality of which in Westchester overall is exceptional - and what people tend to move here for.
If you don't want to live in a civilized society which ensures the availability of education, why not just move to a 3rd world country...because that is what it looks like. If we want to live in a civilized society, we need it to be an educated society. Taxes are the price we pay to live in an educated, civilized society. There are direct correlations between education, birth rates and crime. The less educated a society is, the higher the crime rate in a city full of teen pregnancies. There are many places in the US which do not value education as much as Westchester does, and their taxes are much lower...but you need to take the whole package of what that gets you.

To refresh your Constitutional memory zytu, the Bill of Rights specifically notes that what is not in the Constitution can be voted on by the people of each state. And clearly education is a priority here locally, because folks time and time again vote in favor of paying for it. IMHO it is key to stay involved locally, and attend budget meetings which affect tax bills so we can all ensure accountability to make sure our tax dollars are being used effectively.

The way I look at it, if I list all of the services my property taxes pay for and make a rough estimate for costs, my tax bill of $27k a year is fair. I have two kids in school. We have a local police and fire department who are extremely responsive and give my family and our neighbors peace of mind. When it snows, the roads are immediately (for the most part) plowed. Our trash is picked up weekly. We use our public library often. My only complaint is the @!?# potholes. Thus, I choose to live here for the quality of life provided. It's not free...it's not cheap, even. But I don't expect it to be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zytu2001 View Post
Well, just for you information, I do not support bombing libya or invading
Iraq. There are things which the gov should do such as defense and police etc as outlined in the constitution.
But it does not involve having joe to pay for things bob needs.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,487 posts, read 3,737,738 times
Reputation: 563
"if I list all of the services my property taxes pay for and make a rough estimate for costs, my tax bill of $27k a year is fair."

I'm not a libertarian, and would certainly never argue for privatizing K-12 and basic services, but I'm honestly curious if you ever lived outside of the NYC metro area. I've lived in many places in my life. They were all very safe and clean, we had great schools, wonderful services (actually better than here IMO since I still feel like they nickel and dime you for beach access, park passes, kid's activities, etc) and never paid even 1/4 of what you mentioned above in property taxes. All other states have unfunded mandates, too, yet their total tax burden is nowhere in the same hemisphere as ours. I have no idea why.

I understand that if you have 2 or more kids in school, it seems like a bargain in comparison to private, but you have to remember that at a certain point, this county is going to scare away anyone without kids in school, and without them taxes will truly skyrocket. We don't just need a tax cap, we need a tax cut to truly become competitive as a state and county. JMO...
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:45 PM
 
Location: New York
86 posts, read 240,259 times
Reputation: 51
I was born/raised in California, actually. Grew up through the LAUSD in the 70s before the Prop13 tax caps ruined their public schools. Before leaving in 2009, my taxes in L.A. were 1/3 of what they are here...but we got what we paid for (which is why we left), just as we get what we pay for here.

I don't know the details about legislation in all 50 states, but I'd venture to guess you are correct, that on some level all states have unfunded mandates, but not all states have the same mandates, and they need to be looked at individually, because they have different fiscal impacts. In addition to your garden variety mandates such as pensions, here we have public schools paying for busing kids to private schools, and I'd be willing to bet states where taxes aren't as high as ours don't have such lofty add-ins mandated. Our district has to pay $800k out of our budget each year because of this law mandated by the state, yet we get no state money to pay for it. If we have to cut sports, yet have to pay to transport kids to private school...that's a concrete example of where the mandates seem to have gone awry.
It's easy to look at the budgets and taxes in the abstract and say 'they are too high!'. Yes, they are high. But, as ian3 pointed out, the taxes are what they are because 'we the people' have voted for the priorities we have. I've sat in budget meetings and we've looked at costs line by line, and when parents have issues, we point them out and debate them.
When you allude that 'there is a lot of admin that can/could be cut, are you referencing specific roles, because not all districts have the same numbers, and in my district I just can't see any room for cuts. Assistants were let go years ago...there isn't a lot of fat to trim anymore. You say you want a tax cut? Then by all means, take a look at the budget of your local school and municipality and put forth a proposal on what you say can go, and if your community agrees with you, it will pass. But chances are you will be in the minority.

Last edited by tammy42; 04-02-2011 at 09:07 PM..
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,487 posts, read 3,737,738 times
Reputation: 563
We are from LA, too, but lived in the South Bay. Districts in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo had the same funding as LA but far different results. Spending per kid was under $9000 a year and nobody would argue against the quality of the education there. LAUSD is a mess not only because it is mismanaged, but to be totally frank, it's because 70% of the kids in it were minorities and generally from very poor families. I'm certainly not arguing that we learn anything from the leadership in CA, though - I do agree that it is a mess in many ways but voting by proposition and requiring a 2/3 majority for budgets is at the top of my list.

I actually read about busing the private kids yesterday in the paper and laughed. Who came up with that idea?! I honestly think we agree more than disagree. I am all for high quality schools, but I do feel like we are overtaxed here. Whether it is at the state or local level, I really don't know. I just know that something has to give. If not, home prices will continue to erode.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:53 AM
 
1,563 posts, read 2,734,594 times
Reputation: 1542
Quote:
Originally Posted by tammy42 View Post
I cannot for the life of me understand the logic of folks who live in a place like Westchester and complain about the existence of public schools and other socialized services - the quality of which in Westchester overall is exceptional - and what people tend to move here for.
If you don't want to live in a civilized society which ensures the availability of education, why not just move to a 3rd world country...because that is what it looks like. If we want to live in a civilized society, we need it to be an educated society. Taxes are the price we pay to live in an educated, civilized society. There are direct correlations between education, birth rates and crime. The less educated a society is, the higher the crime rate in a city full of teen pregnancies. There are many places in the US which do not value education as much as Westchester does, and their taxes are much lower...but you need to take the whole package of what that gets you.

To refresh your Constitutional memory zytu, the Bill of Rights specifically notes that what is not in the Constitution can be voted on by the people of each state. And clearly education is a priority here locally, because folks time and time again vote in favor of paying for it. IMHO it is key to stay involved locally, and attend budget meetings which affect tax bills so we can all ensure accountability to make sure our tax dollars are being used effectively.

The way I look at it, if I list all of the services my property taxes pay for and make a rough estimate for costs, my tax bill of $27k a year is fair. I have two kids in school. We have a local police and fire department who are extremely responsive and give my family and our neighbors peace of mind. When it snows, the roads are immediately (for the most part) plowed. Our trash is picked up weekly. We use our public library often. My only complaint is the @!?# potholes. Thus, I choose to live here for the quality of life provided. It's not free...it's not cheap, even. But I don't expect it to be.
Well-put. There are plenty of communities with fewer services and lower taxes. See e.g., Brooklyn and the Bronx circa 1980.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:16 AM
 
Location: New York
86 posts, read 240,259 times
Reputation: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post

I actually read about busing the private kids yesterday in the paper and laughed. Who came up with that idea?!
...the church.

Comparing Manhattan Beach to LA schools and saying they each receive the same amount of money isn't really correct. Many schools in more affluent areas like Manhattan Beach have huge school foundations which supplement the lackluster local and state money provided. I have friends still in those neighborhoods and they are happy too. They also collectively give thousands of dollars a year to the school foundation. For example, Manhattan Beach's MBEF gave $4 million dollars this year to pay for teachers, enrichment, science, etc. They also have active PTAs that help fund programs. So, saying that the reason schools in minority areas aren't doing as well is because they are heavily minority isn't really fair. It isn't about race...it's about how much folks are paying toward their local education.

Last edited by tammy42; 04-03-2011 at 08:37 AM..
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