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All politics – and taxes – are local

Editorial

The newly announced school tax rate for Skaneateles CSD residents is certainly not welcome news — not really any time, but especially not in the current painful economic situation our country is in.

It’s interesting to notice how the ignorant economic policies coming out of Washington have affected the states, which have affected the localities. As Spafford Town Assessor Kim Stone-Gridley said, the Spafford equalization rate increase, which reduced Spafford’s portion of school taxes which therefore increased Skaneateles’s portion of school taxes, is quite simply a result of the bad economy.

Did the board of education do right in its decision to accept a 3.9 percent tax rate increase and use $425,000 in reserve funds? We think it did, and we were impressed by the way the board’s discussion was so focused on how it could act to create the least tax increase possible on its district taxpayers.

We also think it appropriate to recognize and praise the excellent administrative policies of the district over the past few years have that led to the district even having a reserve fund. If that fund did not exist, the board would have had to accept a 5.49 percent increase rather than 3.9. Think of the other school districts in the state that have no such safety net.

Of course we all hope that things with the economy improve next year. The good news is that the equalization rates may, and probably will, change in 2012, which will change the school tax rates again. The bad news, however, is that the state tax cap, recently passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Cuomo, will seriously reduce the amount of state tax revenue collected next year, which will therefore reduce the amount of state aid received by the district. The district already has cut so much out of its budget that next year, if the economy does not turn around, the district may have to make even more difficult choices about its budget for 2012 than it did for 2011.

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