New York State United Teachers says the cap is unconstitutional and perpetuates funding inequities between affluent and poor districts.
The state Supreme Court lawsuit filed in Albany Wednesday also says the cap diminishes the power of voters by requiring a supermajority of 60 percent to override.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn't yet publicly responded to the lawsuit. The cap he pushed for generally restricts districts from increasing their tax levy by more than 2 percent.
NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi says the suit was filed by NYSUT and some parents with children in districts where a majority, but not a supermajority, of voters favored exceeding the cap to avoid cuts in programs and staff."We believe very strongly in the principle that every student, no matter where they live or go to school, should have the opportunity to receive a quality public education," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi in a prepared statement.. "In challenging the constitutionality of the tax cap, we are fighting for that principle."
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The cap, instituted in 2011, restricts any municipality or school district from raising the overall tax levy more than 2 percent in any year, without putting special waivers on the ballot as part of the budget voting process.
Generally it also requires a school district to muster a 60 percent majority vote in order to implement a levy over the two percent, and mandates the adoption of the prior year's budget if a districts budget fails before the voters more than once.
Prior to the cap being enacted, New York State had some of the highest property taxes in the nation, 79 percent above the national average.
The union argues that the cap is "unconstitutional because it arbitrarily caps property tax levy increases, under a complicated formula, at about 2 percent and, thus, locks in and perpetuates funding inequities between affluent and low-wealth school districts." according to a prepared statement.