Here in beautiful Upstate New York, we have local school districts. And by local, I mean that there are 21 separate school districts in ‘Puter’s county alone. Each one of these school districts is funded primarily by property taxes and secondarily by state aid (income and sales taxes, mostly).
New York’s state pension funds have dropped from a high of $155 billion to $110 billion in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2009. Article V, §7 of the New York State Constitution says that state pension benefits cannot be diminished or impaired. Therefore, property taxpayers are going to have to make up any teachers’ pension shortfalls, as property taxes fund the school districts. This is bad enough, but it gets worse for the productive Upstate citizens. Upstate property taxes claim 8 of the top 10 spots nation wide when comparing taxes to home value. Any increase in assessments or levy hurts Upstate disproportionately.
‘Puter’s got two main beefs with his property taxes, aside from the insanely high amount (nearly 4% per annum of his home’s assessed value).
First, taxes are going up to support a gold-plated defined benefit pension system that few, if any, privately employed taxpayers have. It is galling to pay for exceptional benefits for public employees. And the union canard that public employees are underpaid is horse hockey. The average teacher in New York made $56,200 as of the 2005-06 school year, not counting the value of the pension and health care benefits. (Mrs. ‘Puter will receive 60% of the average of her best three years as her pension, plus her district currently offers no cost health care plans to retirees). Teaching is a three-quarters of a year job, meaning the annualized salary, exclusive of benefits is $74,933.33. Not a bad salary for a college degree, worthless master’s degree in education and lifetime job security. State pensions should be switched to defined contribution plans, such that taxpayers are not on the hook for future costs, and politicians are answerable directly and currently for any benefit increases.
Second, New York offers generous homestead tax exemptions for seasoned citizens (henceforth “old people” or “OP”). ‘Puter says if a property tax is to be a property tax, there should be no exemptions of any sort dependent upon who lives in the property. If your property is worth $150,000, you should pay taxes on the full $150,000 of property value. New York already has a progressive income tax, so the OP are already making out like bandits by massaging their “fixed incomes.” Moreover, the OP are getting all the same property value benefits of having good schools as the younger folks. Seriously, if you are an OP who has planned so poorly for your retirement that you do not have the funds to pay your property taxes, you probably can’t afford to adequately maintain your house either. OP, you have two choices. Get a job or sell and move.
OPs getting state pensions are sticking it to ‘Puter. And OPs not paying their fair share are sticking it to ‘Puter. ‘Puter’s beginning to feel like Bernie Madoff in the shower room at his new digs.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.