The 2013-14 school budget that was overwhelmingly supported by the residents in the Plainview-Old Bethpage community carried with it a proposed tax levy increase of 2.89 percent. You have just received your tax bill and are probably wondering why the increase you voted on is different from the one in your tax bill. Simply put, tax rates are established by the practices of the Nassau County Assessor and that office is solely responsible for the difference between the tax levy increase proposed by the district and your tax rate.
In Nassau County, there are four classes of property, each with its own tax rate: Class 1 is for single-family homes; Class 2 is for apartments and condominiums; Class 3 is for utility company properties; and Class 4 is for commercial properties such as factories, offices and stores. Each year, the county determines how much of the overall tax burden will be paid by property owners in each of the four classes. This is called the “adjusted base proportion,” because it represents the proportion of the total tax levy paid by property owners in each of the four classes. The distribution of property taxes among the four classes is entirely under the authority of the county.
Is threatening a lawsuit the new way of responding to a legitimate issue? We have two examples of such threats in response to questions to which on their face seem to have merit.
The Nassau County Comptroller, Mr. Maragos, apparently successfully placed $88 million of 2012 debt into the 2013 ledger so he could show a surplus for 2012. Mr. Howard Weitzman has pointed out that this is a questionable accounting practice and Mr. Maragos’s answer was to threaten to sue Mr. Weitzman.
Your “Raise The Age” story pointed out that 74.4 percent of crimes that 16-and-17-year-olds are arrested for are only “minor” misdemeanors. Of course, that means that 25.6 percent are felonies, including burglaries, robberies, muggings, assaults, molestations, rapes, torture and murders. Yet District Attorney Kathleen Rice is against arresting, prosecuting and punishing 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for these horrible crimes “Regardless of the offense.” Similarly, Assemblyman Charles Lavine feels that “children should be treated as children regardless of the crime” they chose to commit.
However, I consider the crime committed (and its victim) much more important than the age of the perpetrator. Presumably, Rice and Lavine would both object to treating the following “youths” as adults: The two 16-year-olds who recently beat an 88-year-old World War ll hero to death; the trio of 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds who recently shot a visiting Australian baseball player to death because they were “bored;” and the 8-year-old who recently shot his 90-year-old babysitter to death. These were not the acts of “innocent children.”
Nassau County is very similar to other places around the country when election time comes around. You have candidates and incumbents willing to say anything to stay in office or get back in office. This time around we have two former incumbents in Suozzi and Weitzman who for over three years did not say a word about the county’s finances, struggles, or achievements. Yet all of a sudden they come out and say that everything is horrible. They say things like “cooking the books” and “the County borrowed $2 billion and your children will pay the price.” All these statements are meant to grab your attention and make you question your quality of life.
As a Member of Congress who represents a large population of Americans of Indian descent, I am deeply troubled by the outrageous remarks aimed at the winner of the 2013 Miss America Pageant and a fellow New Yorker, Nina Davuluri. Ms. Davuluri embodies the American dream—the daughter of immigrants who graduated from a prestigious university and plans to pursue a medical degree. She is American in the truest sense, and the fact that this would be questioned is despicable.Embracing diversity is an American value, and one that I have always cherished. I am the product of grandparents who fled Russia due to persecution and found an accepting home here in America. I have spent my life honoring their memory by fighting against hatred, bigotry and persecution. When I heard of the vitriol being directed toward Ms. Davuluri, I felt compelled to respond.
I join with the voices of the many Americans who have cried out against these hateful remarks. And I will continue to work in Congress to fight against hatred.
Really enjoyed John Owens’s article “They’re Drowning Our Kids In Snake Oil” (Sept. 18-24).
I work in education. John Owens’ article “They’re Drowning Our Kids In Snake Oil” (Sept. 18-24) was very interesting, as are so many that are being written now. Obviously, members of the New York State Board of Regents are reading none of them.
I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that there is nothing more important than the futures of our community’s children. Yet, in New York, too many of those futures are being limited and postponed by a state criminal justice system that treats kids – 16- and 17-year-olds – accused of nonviolent crimes like hardened adult criminals.
Forty-eight other states have found these kids worthy of redirection, rehabilitation and age-appropriate intervention. New York’s justice system should follow suit and change the way it handles kids accused of minor, nonviolent offenses.
Editor’s note: This is a response to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s “County Financial Report Card,” published in The Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald, Sept. 11-17 edition. Howard Weitzman is running on the Democratic line against Maragos in the November election.
George Maragos continues to mislead the public by falsely claiming that the county’s financial condition has improved on his watch. During Mr. Maragos’s tenure as Nassau County’s fiscal watchdog, the county has undergone three bond downgrades by the credit rating agencies, the county’s fiscal outlook has been lowered from “stable” to “negative,” and the county’s debt has reached a new all-time high. No amount of “cooking the books” and issuing misleading financial statements and press releases can hide this truth, a truth which can be easily verified by outside sources.
The Financial condition of the County continues to improve by all fundamental measures, primarily due to the improving economy and cost controls instituted by the Mangano administration. From residents’ point of view, the County’s improved financial state is reflected in the county portion of their property tax bill, which has not increased in the last four years.
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