I never thought I would see anyone arguing for higher taxes on Long Island, but here we are. Ms. Karen Rubin takes offense at our tax cap, the only thing that’s put a constraint on Nassau’s taxation death spiral.
Her objection is that local control is defeated by the cap. I would sooner allow a 12 year old to pilot a Boeing 737 Max with an open bottle of Jack Daniels than hand fiscal control to the most incompetent, reckless municipality this side of the Mississippi.
The irony of the “Interim” Finance Authority, created as a nanny for West Street, is now in its 18th year seems to have escaped her. As it is, NIFA was useless. It was set up to prevent the county from doing what it should have done: file a Chapter 9 bankruptcy. However, that would nullify labor contracts, and we couldn’t have that.
So the county will remain a fiscal basket case in perpetuity. Local control may be a good thing in itself. But not when it’s controlled by fools or when it’s been cynically structured to fail.
Last month, a teacher from Medford was arrested for improper relations with a 16-year-old girl. He earns $147,000 a year, more than an associate professor at Stanford. Figuring in his benefits, he earns as much as a full professor at Harvard.
He’s a gym teacher.
Last week, a retired teacher from BOCES was found to have child porn on his computer. His pension is $90,000 a year.
I’m mentioning these two for a reason because even if they were eligible to be inducted into the Pantheon of Puritanical Pedagogy, there is absolutely no way to justify this level of remuneration.
Long Island residents are getting their earnings strip-mined by this, and it will never be fixed because both political parties are completely co-opted.
So no matter how many times your order-taking Assemblymen and Senators tell you how hard they’re “fighting” to lower taxes, Nassau never improves. Businesses have to be bribed to stay here, families separated, the young kept out, and the old simply thrown out, and it’s all done for a protected class.
As it can only happen in Nassau, the greatest exploiters of labor are labor unions.
Meantime, there’s no correlation between salary and outcomes, at least as far as the educators are concerned.
There, s however, a correlation between parental income and outcomes. How do we know this? Well, SAT scores are strongly correlated with parental income. It doesn’t matter what school the child attends. Want more proof?
Simply Google a list of the Island’s “best ”schools.
They’re practically in lockstep with the median income of each district. That’s not a coincidence. What goes on outside the classroom is 1,000 times more critical to a child’s development that what goes on inside, but that breaks the myth we’ve been fed. We have so infantilized K-12 education, it’s transcended into a God-like status.
What parents are really buying is social capital, so they practically bankrupt themselves getting their children into a “better” school. It will make no difference to the child’s intellect. You can halve the salaries or double them. Your kid will still be who they are.
Ms Rubin writes:
“School taxes are the only taxes we taxpayers directly vote.”
No, we don’t “directly” vote on school budgets. Since most costs are fixed, we vote on about 5% of the budget. However, the fiction of “control” must be maintained.
“The tax cap is a political weapon. The objective is to force villages to consolidate into towns, towns into counties, school districts into larger districts. But the fallacy in that is all that it saves is a few administrative positions.”
It does more than that. Eighteen of the twenty highest pensions paid in NY State are from Long Island, and consolidation will certainly save a lot more than a “few administrative positions.” Besides, what gives her the gall to say that eliminating redundancy isn’t important to taxpayers?
Most astounding is this statement: “Roosevelt, with 3,270 students, gets $53 million in state aid; Great Neck, with 6,399 students, gets $10 million – the difference made up from property taxes.“
As I told Mr. Kremer, Nassau Democrats turn into Libertarians once it affects their pocketbook. Who could imagine a self-described “progressive” taking objection to the poorest district in the County getting more in aid than the wealthiest? Quite remarkable.
Keep the cap. It’s our only weapon.