Nassau County’s finances are a disaster. Nassau’s elected officials have saddled taxpayers with several billion dollars of debt. We run massive deficits annually, borrow to plug budget holes, and have had a budget babysitter in NIFA since 2000. We have a county executive who counts borrowed money as surplus revenue. Along with repealing the “County Guarantee” we must proceed ONLY with a balanced budget, not a hope and a prayer.
The New York State Legislature created the Nassau Interim Finance Authority in June of 2000. The key word here is INTERIM. After 17 years Nassau County is still not trusted to handle its own affairs. One of the wealthiest counties in the state still cannot pass a balanced budget and keep our finances under control. Blaming NIFA may be politically expedient but it has yielded us nothing but bloated budgets and ever growing debt. The Nassau Legislature needs to work WITH NIFA to create sustainable balanced budget that will help bring us back to financial solvency.
Rather than be honest with the citizens of Nassau County, the current leadership hides new taxes in the form of exorbitant fees. Mortgage Recording Fees for primary residence refinances should not cost up to $2000 just for recording a new mortgage. We should be helping our residents reduce their housing expenses, not increasing them unfairly.
Reducing Expenditures and creating innovative revenues
We should be utilizing high-Return on Investment green energy measures to reduce energy consumption and save money. Why are we not blanketing county parking lots and buildings with solar panels Many of these firms wanting to use open land for solar farms can use our many parking lots to derive to same result, without using open land to do so. How often are county employees reviewed? Why are we not using modern day efficiency models to get more productivity out of fewer employees. No more patronage jobs for anyone!
Property Tax Assessment
There are few issues as complex and as misunderstood as Nassau County’s property tax assessment system. While disparate plans have been floated to restore equity and efficiency to the system, action needs to be taken today, because our current form of assessment is simply unsustainable.
“County Guaranty” Repeal
First and foremost, the “County Guaranty” needs to be repealed immediately. The “County Guaranty,” enacted in 1948, places an unreasonable burden on Nassau County Government to refund any taxes paid to schools, towns, and special districts of the county which were later successfully grieved, even though the County never receives the money (tinyurl.com/ly38z9j). It takes more than a few moments to ponder the lunacy of this. This system has cost Nassau County more than 1.5 BILLION already.The catch? The “County Guaranty” can only be repealed through an act of the New York State Legislature. So, I ask– why are Nassau County Legislators not vehemently advocating for this repeal? Why are our elected representatives not literally on the front steps of the capitol in Albany, EVERYDAY demanding this anachronistic and unfair law be undone through legislative action? As your legislator, I will be loud, unapologetic, and indefatigable in my pursuit of support from our Assembly members and Senators to repeal this law.
Pressure on Governor Cuomo
Recently, AP reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “is touting his plan to force local governments to find ways to save money.” So, I challenge Governor Cuomo to put his money where his mouth is and support the State Legislature’s repeal of the “County Guaranty”! What an obvious way for our local government here in Nassau County to save money! Moreover, as you have poured hundreds of millions of dollars of forfeiture money from Wall Street settlements into countless programs and projects, NOW is the time to help alleviate the massive debt burden that Nassau County has incurred but not deserved, because of the Guaranty. Help Nassau County get out from under the crushing burden of $1.5 Billion in debt due to this County Guarantee! Governor Cuomo, the ball is in your court! As your legislator, I will be relentless in demanding that Governor Cuomo and New York State legislature fix this egregious problem.