For the first time since 2019, property tax levy growth for school districts will be capped at two-percent this year, up from 1.23 percent last year.

That’s according to data released on Wednesday by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The tax cap was first applied to local governments and school districts in 2012.

It limits annual tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or two-percent.

DiNapoli’s office calculated the inflation factor at 4.7% for those with a June 30, 2023 fiscal year end.

“School district and municipal officials must remain fiscally cautious to stay under the cap as they prepare their budgets,” DiNapoli said. “Even with significant funding from the state and federal governments, school and local communities are faced with the rapid increase in inflation, pandemic surge, and trying to retain and recruit employees.”

School districts can override the cap with 60 percent voter approval.

According to the New York State School Board's Association, in 2021, 654 districts proposed budgets with tax levies that were within their caps and required only a simple majority to pass.

Of those districts, 99.7% saw their budgets pass.

Twenty-one districts had budgets with tax levies that exceeded the cap and required a 60% "supermajority" to pass. Of those districts, 85.7% had their budgets approved,

That is significantly higher than the previous nine-year average under the tax cap of 59.2%.

The 2% levy limit affects the tax cap calculations for 676 school districts and 10 cities with fiscal years starting July 1, 2022, including the “Big Four” cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.

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