Since taking office as the Assemblyman for the 12th District in a special election held March 9, Joseph Saladino has continued his efforts to keep taxes down, preserve the environment, protect the safety of children and improve the quality of education for students of the district, which includes Farmingdale.
Assembyman Joseph Saladino
At a round table discussion hosted by Saladino April 23, the assemblyman discussed legislation he has recently introduced that will benefit his constituents.
A proposal designed to protect taxpayers is an act to amend a law that will require the state to reimburse municipalities for the loss of real property tax revenue resulting from the establishment of community residential facilities.
"The loss of tax revenue resulting from the establishment of a group home places a substantial burden on the community," Saladino explained. This bill provides a mechanism for the payment of the same taxes that would be assessed had the dwelling not been designated a group home to the municipality in which the home is located.
Another bill introduced by Saladino with the taxpayer in mind is an act to amend the education law, which would require that the state aid to education formula be computed by applying an adjustment for regional cost of living based on the consumer price index.
"We pay a disproportionate amount in taxes to the state compared to the amount we get back in state aid," Saladino said. "Funds are being funneled from Long Island and upstate and put into the city."
If enacted, this bill would add as a factor in determining state aid, regional costs of living based upon the consumer price index. "Many of the built-in costs to provide quality education vary dramatically from region to region around the state," Saladino explained. "For example, in some areas of the state, a starting salary for a teacher may be as low as $20,000. In other location, $27,000 is the going rate. This does not reflect educational excellence but the cost of providing teaching services based on the cost of living."
By computing the state aid to education formula with a cost of living additive, Saladino said he hopes the final state aid to schools would more fairly reflect the need for the same service aid. "It's just one of the many ways I am fighting for more money for taxpayers," he said.
A bill introduced by Saladino to protect marine resources and improve the safety of boaters would provide for the designation of trap zones in the Greater South Bay. Saladino, who said he has been a "bayman my whole life," recently noticed a proliferation of fish and crab traps in the bay. The ropes from the traps get tangled in the propellers of boats. "At best, this is a nuisance," Saladino said. "At worst, a huge danger."
This bill creates large areas of east/west navigational lanes for recreational and commercial marine vessels to travel safely by day or night, greatly reducing the incidence of making contact with fish traps, their floats and lines. It accomplishes this by containing all traps to zones away from navigational lanes.
Finally, Saladino has designed a variety of bills to protect children. An amendment to the Vehicle and Traffic Law would increase the period of license suspension for driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired offenses to one year. In addition, there will be a mandatory enrollment in an alcohol abuse program for those convicted, and if there is a child under the age of 13 in the vehicle, a mandatory suspension of the driver's license for one and a half years.
"Anyone driving drunk with a young child in the car is putting the most innocent members of society in jeopardy," Saladino said. "The introduction of this bill shows my commitment to children."
Another act sponsored by Saladino on behalf of children would amend the family court act and the criminal procedure law to permit records of sex offense cases of juvenile delinquents and youthful offenders where the victim was a minor to be open to public inspection.
"We need to empower parents with information when it comes to juveniles who commit sexual offenses," Saladino explained. This legislation increases the ability for law enforcement, responsible agencies and certain individuals to be provided with the information necessary to increase the level of protection to children from potential sexual predators.
Saladino noted that he is trying to do exactly what he promised to do when running for election.
"What I'm bringing up there is exactly what I promised to voters," he said, "and that's common sense to Albany."