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County Executive’s Column - June 4, 2010

Support My Plan to Fix Our Tax Assessment System

When I took office on January 1, 2010, I knew Nassau County was in bad shape. What I didn’t realize was just how bad things actually were. From overtaxed residents, to a looming $286 million deficit caused by government waste and our broken property tax assessment system, Nassau County was in rough shape.

On Day One, I repealed the Home Energy Tax that was imposed on our already overtaxed residents, saving taxpayers more than $39 million. I also eliminated a 13 percent tax hike that was planned by the previous administration. In April, I signed an Executive Order that stops Nassau County’s annual assessment system and replaces it with a four-year cyclical system that begins in 2011.

I listened to residents who told me they simply could not afford to pay any more taxes.

We must develop a plan that will, once and for all, reform Nassau County’s oppressive, error-ridden Real Property Tax assessment system. This system has resulted in more than $1 billion – yes, billion – being wasted in correcting past assessment errors, more than half of the county’s debt. This debt is mortgaging the future of our children. It will only get worse this year and next year unless my reforms are adopted.

It is a never-ending cycle of assessing, challenging and borrowing, and this cycle is crippling the taxpayers of Nassau County.

Nassau County’s system of property assessment has played a disastrous role in our County’s current fiscal crisis. It costs taxpayers $250 million each year - a shameful waste of money! My reforms give taxpayers the right to correct their taxes before the government demands payment!

To get this done, I need the help of our residents. Call or write your senator, Assembly representative, or county legislator and ask them to support my plan to fix our assessment system.

I don’t have to tell you that these are tough times in Nassau County. But, by working together and putting aside partisan agendas, Nassau County will begin to move in the right direction again. Together, we can and will fix Nassau County.