The following excerpts are from articles by Jonathan LaMantia, Rachel Weiss, and Craig Schneider. You can read the piece on housing costs and tax burdens, published in the August 2nd, 2023 edition here, and the piece on what will happen if affordability goes unaddressed in the region, here.
FACING LONG ISLAND’S EXTREME TAX BURDEN
Homeownership made unaffordable
Tax burdens shouldn’t be overlooked as a factor that has made homeownership on Long Island unaffordable, said Richard Murdocco, an adjunct professor in economic development and planning at Stony Brook University.
“The elephant in the room — and this is one of the reasons people love Long Island — is the school districts. And it’s not just schools — library districts, fire districts,” Murdocco said. “All that has a cost … It’s great our school districts have Intel science winners, that they go abroad, that our schools have robotics and theater, but someone somewhere is paying for it.
“We can’t have our cake as a region and eat it, too. We can’t say, ‘Housing is expensive.’ It’s expensive because we want the best schools, hospitals, fire departments and libraries.”
You can read the rest of the piece from Weiss and LaMantia here.
SOLUTIONS TO LONG ISLAND’S AFFORDABILITY CRISIS
…Still, Island planners and economists say they see some past initiatives, some occurring now and some ideas for the future that could ease the tax burden on Long Island.
School taxes make up about 60% of Islanders’ property tax bill, but it’s not an area where many Islanders want to skimp. Island schools are routinely ranked among the best in the nation.
One of the biggest breaks came in 2012 when the state limited increases in school and municipal budgets to 2% a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
“That has throttled their ability to drive up costs,” said Richard Murdocco, a Stony Brook adjunct professor of land use and environmental policy.
What happens if Long Island doesn’t do enough to bring down the costs of housing, child care, taxes and transportation?
Murdocco, the Stony Brook adjunct professor, said the Island would become more of an enclave for the rich. There would be less economic and racial diversity. There are still going to be good schools and services, he said.
But costs will escalate.
“If you used to pay $15 an hour for a babysitter, expect it to be $35,” he said.
You can read the rest of the piece from Schneider here.