News Release - School Property Taxes in New York

For Immediate Release –

Jan. 8, 2009

Media contact: Mark Marchand – (518) 443-5283 /

School Property Taxes in New York: Sharply Higher, Increasingly Regressive

Upstate Districts Saw Largest Increase in Effective Tax Rates from 1993 to 2006, Rockefeller Institute Report Shows

Albany, N.Y. — Total school property taxes across New York State rose 25 percent after adjusting for inflation and enrollment from 1993 to 2006, while effective tax rates rose significantly upstate and in poorer school districts, according to a study by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Statewide, the effective tax rate — total school property taxes as a proportion of property values — rose 13.7 percent during the period. The total amount of property taxes levied by school districts, including New York City, rose from $12.1 billion in 1993 to $22.4 billion in 2006. At the same time, total expenditures and state aid each rose more than a third, after adjusting for inflation and enrollment.

Among all school districts statewide, three-quarters saw effective tax rates rise during the study period. Average effective rates rose more than 25 percent in upstate districts and dropped significantly on Long Island and in the Westchester-Rockland region, due to rapidly rising property values in the downstate regions and more modest growth in values upstate. At the same time, total tax levies rose particularly sharply downstate.

Overall, New York’s school property tax system became more regressive during the period. Effective tax rates in poorer school districts rose relative to income, while those in higher-income districts declined in relation to income.

The study was produced by the Rockefeller Institute for the Education Finance Research Consortium (EFRC), part of the Center for Policy Research at the University at Albany. EFRC promotes educational research and discussion by leading public forums, conferences, and symposia to address relevant issues in education, and by sponsoring and supporting researchers studying issues at the forefront of education.

The study was written by Rockefeller Institute Deputy Director Robert B. Ward and Senior Policy Analyst Lucy Dadayan. Institute Senior Fellow Donald J. Boyd and independent researcher Suho Bae served as consultants.

The report can be found at:


About the Rockefeller Institute of Government

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, at the University at Albany, is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts fiscal and programmatic research on American state and local governments. Journalists can find useful information on the Newsroom page of the Web site,

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