Newswise — John W. Sipple, director of the New York State Center for Rural Schools and professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University, argues that Governor Cuomo’s recently proposed set of ideas to help reduce property taxes across the state are only one element to reducing the high tax burden.
“I fully and strongly support the goal of reducing local tax burden for schools and municipalities. The governor and I both agree that the high property tax burdens inhibit growth and development of New York’s communities and exacerbate differences in service provision between property-wealthy communities able to provide enriched services and property-poor communities hamstrung in increasingly severe ways.
“The governor describes a main pathway to this as shared services and consolidation of municipalities and school districts. To help inform this policy idea, we just engaged in a first-of-its kind analysis of the prevalence, motivations, and obstacles to municipalities and school districts sharing services. We found that indeed, some services are initiated and maintained to save money. We also found that many services are shared to enhance program quality and opportunity and will not save money.
“In sum, shared services and consolidation are not the single answer to New York state’s high property tax burden. An increased state share of county and school district service provision is a necessary component to reduce local property taxes and to ensure opportunities and outcomes more equitable.”