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Information on the Proposed Tax Cap

INFORMATION ABOUT TAX CAPS THAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE STATE LEGISLATURE ARE NOT TELLING YOU

REPORTS ON THE EFFECTS OF TAX CAPS ENACTED IN OTHER STATES

Massachusetts

Advocates of reducing property taxes often cite Proposition 2 ½, the strict property tax cap Massachusetts adopted in 1980, as a model for reform. Most recently, New Jersey Governor Christie has proposed a cap similar to Proposition 2 ½, which limits property tax revenues in Massachusetts to 2.5 percent of a community’s assessed value and caps annual growth in a community’s property tax revenue at 2.5 percent. Unfortunately, proponents typically overlook Proposition 2 ½’s harmful impact on Massachusetts, as well as the reasons why similar measures could prove even more damaging in other states. The law has:

  • severely limited local governments' ability to raise revenues without any consideration of the actual cost of providing services;
  • made local governments heavily dependent on state aid
  • increased inequality among wealthier communities and poorer ones in terms of access to quality local services;
  • forced cuts to valued services rather than looking for local governments to become more fiscally responsible required lay-offs of police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public employees; closed fire stations; libraries, senior centers, and recreation centers or sharply reduced their hours; and scaled back public school programs.

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California

California's Proposition 13, a property tax cap passed in 1978, has devastated the state's public schools. The tax cap has been a major factor in a 30-plus year decline from California's status as first in the nation in student achievement to almost dead last.

  • Proposition 13, property tax cap, imposed 1978
  • Primary factor in the devastation of state’s public schools by causing a thirty year decline from being first in student achievement to near bottom
  • Many middle and lower income communities were forced to cut programs such as music, physical education, and art; course offerings were reduced; and positions cut, such as librarians and guidance counselors
  • California now has the second-highest student-teacher ratio of any state in America
  • 15% of the teacher workforce consists of newly employed teachers, the majority of whom are not yet formally trained and certified Test scores in California public schools are now close to the bottom. Rand researchers analyzed scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress on reading and mathematics for 4th and 8th graders in all 50 states from 1990 through 2003. California fared worse than every state except Louisiana and Mississippi

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Colorado

Colorado’s so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, has contributed to a significant decline in that state’s public services. This decline has serious implications not only for the more than 5 million residents of Colorado, but also for the many millions of residents of other states in which TABOR-like measures are being promoted.

To read more click here.