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Richard Fromewick Pens Letter to the New York Times Editor, "School Taxes and Home Prices"

Dec 25, 2005

Publication Source: The New York Times


To the Editor:

Seeking fairness when paying one's school taxes? It won't happen unless there is radical political change to force reform. The school tax inequity you describe in ''As Island Home Prices Climb, School Aid Migrates Upstate'' is just part of the problem.

School taxes are made up of the assessor's estimate of value and the tax rate. The rate is determined by the school budget and the amount of taxable assessment in the district. An area with a lot of assessable property, such as Manhasset, ends up with a low tax rate of $107 per $100 of assessment. Areas with relatively lower assessable property, such as Levittown, end up with a much higher tax rate of $243.

It gets even worse. Valley Stream has three school districts. District 13, with a large commercial area, has a commercial tax rate of $421 per hundred, while the less fortunate District 24 has a commercial tax rate of $813 per $100. Woe to the unsuspecting person who buys a property on the wrong side of town.

The Nassau County executive, Thomas R. Suozzi, is making school tax reform a major issue. While agents of change are never welcomed, Mr. Suozzi needs to make reform a critical part of his agenda even if it means fighting the establishment here and in Albany.

Richard G. Fromewick Oceanside

The writer is a lawyer specializing in real estate tax assessment.