Friday, 06 April 2012 00:00
I read your recent article covering Nassau County Executive Edward I. Mangano’s State of the County address with great interest (“Mangano Warns of 13 Percent Tax Jump,” Anton Newspapers, March 22 and 23), but I fear your story missed the point – by a longshot.
The county executive did not threaten a 13 percent property tax increase; in fact, he never even uttered the words. Further, setting the legislative agenda is among my many duties as presiding officer, and I assure you, there will not be a tax increase on the agenda this year, just as there was no tax increase on the agenda in the past two years. Where did you even get your information?
The county executive’s speech painted a picture of the breadth of Nassau’s debt due to out-of-control spending and the broken property tax assessment system. The county executive made it clear that there will be no tax increases to deal with the inherited $310 million deficit, rather, there will continue to be severe spending cuts and even deep service cuts if his plan to end borrowing responsibly is not implemented.
It is laughable that, of all people, Kevan Abrahams (now Democratic minority leader of the legislature) is jumping on an anti-tax message after a career of tax increases, i.e. he voted for a 19.4 percent property tax increase for 2003, a 3.9 percent property tax increase for 2009, a 2.5 percent home energy tax, as well as proposed 3.9 percent property tax increases for 2010 through 2013, and even a fast food tax. His spend-and-tax mentality is what created Nassau’s budget problems in the first place.
Since gaining the county executive seat and the majority on the Nassau Legislature in 2010, my Republican colleagues and I have fought every mention of a property tax increase, repealed the home energy tax, and eliminated the proposed tax increases for 2010 through 2013. Further, we get it. We will not raise property taxes during a recession, and we have delivered on that promise. We have successfully presented no-tax-increase budgets for 2011 and 2012, and will continue to make the tough decisions necessary to cut, downsize and rightsize this budget without raising property taxes.
And, apparently, we will continue to do this without the support of the Democrat minority.
Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt
Nassau County Legislature
Note from Editor: Presiding Officer Schmitt, thank you for bringing a possible inaccuracy in my story to our attention. While I stand by the 13 percent tax hike threat I reported, and which was widely covered by many other media outlets, perhaps I should have stuck with Mr. Mangano’s earlier threat, which he expressed in a February 2012 mailing to Nassau homeowners, warning that he might be “force[d]” to “…raise property taxes 25 percent on every homeowner in Nassau County, including you.”
— Melissa Argueta