By now we should not be surprised that the New York State United Teachers union is suing New York State and its taxpayers over the property tax cap ["Teachers v. tax cap," News, Feb. 21].

The strength of this special-interest group is legendary, and its president, Richard Iannuzzi, obviously hasn't a shred of concern or compassion for the embattled taxpayers of this state -- particularly on expensive Long Island -- or for senior citizens or anyone else on a fixed income.

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Characteristically, the president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, James S. March, would have us believe that the property tax cap is the primary cause of "negative impact" on schools. Don't believe it. The single most important factor affecting schools is that the per-pupil cost of educating students in New York is the highest in the country because of salaries, benefits and pensions. Ironically, however, New York ranks 34th in high school graduation rates, well below average.

The explosive growth of school salaries, benefits and pensions is not sustainable, and, more than any other factor, is making the cost of living and doing business on Long Island prohibitive. And, yes, it's going to result in a cutback to student services.

Harry Katz, Southold