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Con Game

Dear Editor,

No more con games. End the school property tax. Considering that the property tax is not a New York State revenue source but, traditionally, a local government revenue source, how on earth did the New York State Legislature and governor become involved with it for the funding of public education a state, not a local government, responsibility mandated by the New York State Constitution?

Added to the intrusion have been two re-election con games by state legislators. First, the so-called STAR exemption school property tax relief for seniors. Now, an added Property Tax Rebate for homeowners again with a nod to seniors. Both rebates are paid to offset rising (the sky's the limit) school property taxes; and both are paid out of state revenues of which the school property tax is not a constituent part.

Let's take a close look at this confidence trick. The state imposes, through state-constituted school districts, a school property tax which it does not collect; then makes a partial offset for the senior age group out of revenues which it collects, thus making it appear that the legislators and the governor are granting a favor, for which they deserve re-election.

This con game not only insults the intelligence of state residents, but also betrays a lack of integrity and disrespect a shamefully shameless disrespect for the State Constitution they are sworn to uphold. (But who cares? Not the property owners who are screwed.) Chapter XI, Section I of the New York State Constitution clearly lays the entire responsibility for financing the maintenance and support of public education (common schools) on the New York State legislature not on property owners!

If the governor and state legislator have any respect for the State Constitution, themselves and the state residents who elect them to office (uncaring as the latter may be) they would promptly end this con game, stop oppressing property owners (who seem not to know that the U.S. was born in a revolt from oppressive taxation) and look to the state's own legitimate sources of revenue for the complete financing of public education. Otherwise, annual flag waving and celebration of independence is a mere travesty.

Let us hope that the New York State Attorney General will ensure that the governor and the legislature end their trampling on the State Constitution, thereby setting a good example for the federal government.

July 11, 2006

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