A new group that has been working to defeat the proposed tax cap on local budgets, the New York State Coalition for Local Control, has released a poll it says shows strong support for maintaining local control. The group’s statement about the poll is below:
NEW YORK STATE COALITION FOR LOCAL CONTROL (NYSCLC)
New Poll: Westchester Voters Favor Local Control
Over State-Imposed Tax Cap
Broad based support for a New York State property tax cap is neither as strong nor as constant as many pundits suggest, according to a new poll released today.
A recent poll by Kiley & Company, a Boston-based opinion research consulting firm, shows that Westchester voters strongly favor local control with respect to school budgets over a state imposition of a property tax cap. When given a choice between maintaining local control or passing a statewide cap, more than half of Westchester voters come down on the side of local control. A majority of 51% (over 41%) favors “allowing voters and communities to retain full control over how much they spend on their schools” rather than “passing a statewide tax cap.” Only 41% favor passing a statewide tax cap.
Fifty percent (50%) of those polled say they would be less inclined to support a property tax cap if it “resulted in the public schools in [their] community having to lay off teachers, increase class sizes and reduce or cut out important programs such as music, sports, art and foreign language instruction.”
The poll also demonstrates that respondents’ support of a tax cap declines from 61% to 54% as they learn more about its terms and potential impact on services and schools. This is consistent with a recent Quinnipiac University poll that showed a plunge of 20% of tax cap support from April until June, suggesting that voters favor the cap less as they learn about its effects on local services. The proposed legislation requires a 60% “supermajority” to override the cap and does not include any state mandate relief or exclusions for costs outside a local district’s control.
The poll, released by the New York State Coalition for Local Control (NYSCLC), was conducted among 302 Westchester County voters from June 9 – 12, 2011, and has a margin of error of 5.8%. Cross-tabulations, Kiley & Company Key Findings Memorandum, and a full copy of the poll available upon request.
About the NYSCLC:
The NYSCLC is a coalition of the Ossining Citizens for Schools, the Coalition for Scarsdale Schools, the Coalition for Chappaqua Schools and taxpayers from Mamaroneck, Mount Vernon, Eastchester, Bedford, Edgemont, and other New York State communities. The NYSCLC, in partnership with the New York State PTA, has initiated a petition, featured on the home page of the NYSPTA website, directed at Governor Cuomo, Lt. Governor Duffy, all Assembly members, and all Senators expressing firm opposition to the pending tax cap legislation. The petition, which cites flaws in the legislation such as the undemocratic provision giving 40% of voters a veto over a school district budget and the absence of meaningful exemptions for costs beyond a school district’s control such as pension contribution rate growth and costs tied to enrollment growth, has garnered over 7,000 signatures thus far from residents throughout all of New York State, from Byram Hills to Binghamton to Ballston Spa to Brockport, from Eastchester to East Islip.