The proposed school levy increase of 7.3 percent is a disgrace. To think that during a time of such economic strain on the average household, the administration and teachers union, have the guts to try and raise taxes by approximately 10 percent. For me and many people this represents a near $800 per year increase in property taxes.
Senior Citizens in our town have not seen an increase in their Social Security for over two years. Many people in the private sector have had stagnant or diminishing wages as a result of the economic recession. Many have lost their jobs. Foreclosures are up in Port Jefferson Station vs. 2007. Can these people afford a ~10 percent increase in taxes? Absolutely not. Are we going to take food out of the mouths of seniors and the unemployed? Life saving medicines away from them too?
There are people in PJS that want you to believe that voting “yes” to the proposed budget increase is somehow, “for the kids”. This of course is a straw man argument because by opposing the increase, I am somehow against kids? Of course not, instead I am for sanity. If increasing taxes somehow increased results, I would have a no argument. But that is simply not true. In fact many districts in New York State perform better than Comsewogue while spending less per student.
The truth is that it’s not about the kids and it hasn’t been for decades. The public school system in New York State has attained a 75 percent increase in their budgets over the past decade, when inflation was only 35 percent. Are the kids any better off? No. In fact they are worse off. Can these same kids afford to start a life in Port Jefferson Station? Can they afford a home in the area? Can they afford to start a business? No. No. No.
In fact 65 percent of Long Islanders under 18- 35 plan to leave Long Island during the next 5 years. What good is this so called “great education” if the children cannot come back and contribute to the local economy? The fact is that the only people who benefit from this tax increase are the teachers, the administration and the unions.
While most of us in the private sector have 401Ks, and contribute 60 to 70 percent to these retirement plans, teachers get taken care of to the grave with their outrageous pensions while contributing only 5 percent annually. While most of us in the private sector spend 25 percent on our family’s healthcare, teachers spend 10 percent. Administrators? Don’t get me started.
We need to do what our New Jersey brothers have done. We need to speak loudly with one voice that the status quo is not good enough. We need to stand together and oppose this oppressive taxation and demand pension and benefit reform now!
That is the only way our kids will be able to live their lives on Long Island or in Port Jefferson Station. Because making it harder for our kids to begin their lives here in Port Jefferson Station is not in their best interest.
Robert from Port Jefferson Station