As we enter the budget cycle for 2014-15, the preliminary state aid figure given to Lindenhurst is approximately $355,000, or 0.8 percent. As a result of the Triborough Amendment, we are unable to freeze salaries of workers who have steps and increments, even though their contracts may have expired. In addition, there are increases in pension costs, health care costs, not to mention the upcoming cost of Obamacare beginning in 2015. The result is we must continue to reduce staff and services or further burden our taxpayers by possibly piercing the tax levy cap, which may be as low as 1.46 percent (Consumer Price Index).
The Gap Elimination Adjustment is a formula in the state budget that reduces the amount of aid each school district is entitled to receive. New York State introduced the GEA in 2009-10 when it was known as the Deficit Reduction Assessment to partially reduce the state’s $10 billion budget deficit. It was used in 2011-12 to allocate an unprecedented $2.56 billion statewide cut in aid. Over the past three years, it has been used to reduce state aid to school districts by $6.35 billion. In 2013-14, as a result of the GEA,
Lindenhurst lost more than $5 million and over a three-year period, Lindenhurst lost more than $18 million. The proposed state aid for 2014-15 is less than the state aid Lindenhurst received in 2009-10. We have passed the point where we can do more with less. We will have to do less with less. The GEA,
combined with a major state aid reduction from which we have not recovered, insufficient mandate relief and the enactment of the property tax cap, has created irreversible financial consequences. We
can no longer rely on our fund balances and reserves.
Please write to your legislators asking them to restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment and to increase Lindenhurst’s state aid for 2014-15.
Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney
640 West Montauk Highway
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
Senator Phil Boyle
69 West Main Street, Suite B
Bay Shore, NY 11706
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Superintendent of Schools