I want to thank all my supporters who elected me on Tuesday to serve as their assemblyman. I appreciate your vote and your support and I will work hard as your representative in Albany to make you proud. For those who did not vote for me, I want you to know that I will fight for you, too, and work diligently to give you the kind of dedicated representation you will be glad to support.
Nassau County is a great place to call home, but it’s getting to be a much more expensive place to live and work. I want to make sure our kids have the same opportunities we did to find a good job and raise a family here on Long Island. The high taxes we pay are killing the American Dream in Nassau by making it harder for businesses to create jobs, seniors to afford their property tax bills and for young families to buy a home.
I am going to focus on making Nassau County an affordable place to live by capping and cutting property taxes, repealing the MTA tax, eliminating wasteful state spending, and fighting to create new private-sector jobs to put our economy back on track.
Again, many thanks to the residents of the 15th Assembly District for having faith in me to be your representative and for giving me such a commanding victory. I also want to thank all the volunteers and all my supporters who trudged through ice and snow in the cold weather to win this race. You will always be able to count on me to stand up for you in Albany and to fight for what’s best for the people of Nassau County. I’m looking forward to getting to work so we can start to turn things around for Long Islanders.
A team of researchers went looking for land in all the right places—and found oodles of it. Enough to start building a new, more vibrant and prosperous Long Island. That’s the news contained in a study just released by the Long Island Index.
The researchers, from the Regional Plan Association, explored for usable land located within one half-mile of downtowns or railroad stations. Those are the places where it’s smart to build the townhouses and apartments Long Island desperately needs to staunch the brain drain that is crippling our economy.
Downtown and transit-centered development stimulates the local economies. Expands opportunities for jobseekers and employee pools for business. Eases traffic, cuts pollution, and helps preserve open space. And most of the time, this type of development is tax positive, meaning that if you build it, taxes will go down for everyone.
As a former school teacher and school board member, I read with great interest the Feb. 1 Record Pilot article entitled, North Shore Schools Budget Will Likely Involve Staff Cuts. I can appreciate the budget challenges school districts face in these most difficult times. However, there are a few issues that I would like to address.
North Shore School District Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick is correct when he objects to the MTA Payroll tax. When the concept was first introduced last year, I met with my superintendents to warn them of this devastating proposal and to gain their support for its defeat. I said it was the worst tax I had ever seen proposed. When I voted against the tax, I warned it would devastate our schools, our businesses, our hospitals and our not-for-profits. When the governor signed it into law, I denounced this endless tax as a job killer and a property tax escalator. Of the nine Long Island senators, only two voted for the tax, Senators Foley and C. Johnson of the 21 Long Island Assembly members only three voted for this tax, Lavine, Schimel and Hooper. As Long Islanders we should be speaking with one voice.
“Mandates” is a universal term that encompasses many things. Yes, pensions are required for public employees but they are based on a percentage of the salaries that are negotiated by individual school districts. This year a new Tier V proposal has been approved. The Tier V plan will reduce pension cost for the District on employees who begin on or after Jan. 1.
That being said most mandates come from the Board of Regents or through the federal government; legislative mandates can be counted on one hand. New legislation S5523 has been introduced to help relieve school districts of some burdensome mandates and establish various efficiencies, with a goal toward reducing costs.
Everyone knows that this is a difficult budget year, both at the state and local level. We all need to find ways to do more with less. Long Island is willing to do its part, but our schools should not be asked to bear a larger burden than any other region of the state. I will do my part to ensure that our districts get their fair share and I look forward to working with Dr. Melnick to find new and creative ideas to keep costs down.
Many thanks to the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce for voting me into the office of the presidency. I am honored to serve the businesses of this community and grateful to be working with such an active and dedicated board. I am looking forward to fulfilling the Chamber’s mission, “to enhance the health and profitability of our member businesses” and working closely with the Executive Director Phyllis Gorham to bring the Chamber to new heights. I am bringing my strong community commitment and business experience along with savvy business expertise from members, board directors and officers all dedicated to strengthen the member businesses that serve our area. I welcome everyone’s participation for meetings and events. Wishes for prosperity to all members throughout 2010.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those for their generous donations to pay for my attendance at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigation in Washington, DC this winter. It is nice to know that there are those who are willing to dedicate so much to local students and are supportive of someone such as me in my educational goals.
The program was a week long in Washington, DC and was the experience of a lifetime. It was an honor to be sponsored by so many generous members of the community and I want to thank each and every one of them. My thanks go out to: Antonietta D.Bruno, P.C., Charles G. McQuair, Esq., Sylvia E. DiPietro Esq., LLC, Charles Parisi, Esq, Nick DiLeo, (CAM Associates Insurance), Hon. Joseph A. Suozzi (former Glen Cove mayor and supreme court judge), John W. C. Canning (former Nassau County Legislator and current practicing attorney), Koeppel Martone & Leistman, LLP, Michael A. Montesano, Esq. and Vincent P. Taranto Esq. (Glen Cove City attorney)
Thank you all for being so generous for what has been a great educational experience in my life. I wish you were there for the challenges and the fun of this program. I look forward to working with you all one day.
Like him or not, Tom Suozzi worked to champion property tax reform. Long Islanders had someone from here bringing their frustration to a statewide bipartisan commission on the reduction of property taxes, which he chaired. You’ll read the basics of his report findings in Take Us to Your Leader this week on Page 3. Being such a volatile issue, he became a self-proclaimed victim of the tax revolt he was hoping to lead, suffering from angry taxpayers who wanted to express their emotions locally. And many schools don’t like some of the ideas that arose - primarily property tax caps.
But now, in a new era, North Shore Schools and their lobbying advisor from the NY State School Boards Association concur with the bipartisan report that impossible costs and harmful laws are coming from the state level to hurt local schools or wallets. They see an answer in a bill to lower school costs and taxes that comes from a senator in Westchester. It is very significant for a board of education to seek to influence such major changes. If there is a solution in the legislation reform for which they are lobbying, North Shore, Nassau and the whole state should join them -- or else ask what happens without change.
Dear Mr. DiNapoli:
It is with both a sense of shock and outrage that I read your address to the NYS and Local Employees’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) participants printed in The Update Fall 2009 publication. In this newsletter, you wrote referring to the retirement fund investments, “… our diversification and long-term investment strategies helped us weather the storm better than most, (investors) and our pensioners’ benefits remain safe and secure.” You gave the NYS Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) participants a great deal of comfort by this statement. You also subjected most NYS residents, who have watched our IRA and 401(k) investment values cut in half, to be envious of your investment prowess and successful commitment to the NYSTRS fund pensions. Why I feel compelled to write and to provide full and honest transparency for all New York residents to understand is NYSTRS participant investments are never at true risk of loss like the rest of us and that your investment strategies for the NYS Common Retirement Fund lost $44 billion or 26 percent of its value last year (Governance & Accountability Institute’s Insights Edge, June 2009).
How is it the Fund lost $44 billion last year and the pensioners’ benefits are safe and secure? How is it that this same Fund in which you are the sole trustee for investment management does not have risk of investment losses like the rest of us? Comptroller DiNapoli, isn’t it time to tell everyone the real truth; the NYS Teachers retirement fund is not at true risk because the NYS Mandate to every NYS school district of November 2009 requires a contribution in some cases equal to or greater than 1 percent of the annual school district’s budget for two years to make up for the shortfall. Your investment losses must be shared by every New York State resident who pays local school district taxes. By the way, this is not the first time New Yorkers have had to bail out the NYSTRS Fund. Comptroller Carl McCall did it during his tenure as NYS Comptroller.
Long Island taxpayers are being crippled by soaring school taxes, cuts by Albany of NYS subsidies and now required/demanded to pay for your poorly advised investment management. As a private citizen, community organizer and overtaxed homeowner I am appalled at reading that teachers should be grateful to your office for the safety of their retirements when all of us have to pay for it. In an election year, all of us will be more conscious of politicians who do not give us full disclosure; of politicians who are adding to and not relieving our local tax burdens.
The heartbreaking news of the catastrophic earthquake that hit the small island nation of Haiti on Jan. 12 has caught the attention of people the world over. The great melting pot that is New York has a large Haitian community and many of our neighbors are suffering in heart and soul along with their friends and relatives on the devastated island. Many people with no personal connection other than a concern for their fellow man are looking to aid the victims of this enormous natural disaster.
The Red Cross has announced that monetary donations are what is most immediately needed. I would ask all who would like to help to contact one of the following organizations, which are established and responsible, to make a donation:
The American Red Cross: From a cell phone, text the word HAITI to the address 90999 to make a $10 donation or call 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767).
Doctors Without Borders: http:// doctorswithoutborders.org
The Clinton Foundation: http://www. clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake
MercyCorps: https://donate.mercycorps. org
Thank you all in advance for your generosity.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention that my term on the IDA had expired on Dec. 31, 2009. Mayor Suozzi decided not to renew my term on the board. Obviously I was saddened by his decision. Sitting on the board of the IDA has been thoroughly gratifying and rewarding, knowing I was part of the decision making process for the future of our city. I wish the IDA and its members success in the future and hope that they always think first about Glen Cove’s sustainability for the future. I am sincerely proud to have had the opportunity to sit on the IDA for almost four years.
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